Mikey doesn’t have school on Friday or Monday because 63% of the US Presidents were born in February. This meant his class Valentine Party was today, which was no problem for me because I didn’t sign up to bring anything. We showed up to school and I saw a couple of parents bringing flowers and presents, presumably for the teachers and teachers’ assistants. Kiss asses, I thought, while mentally flogging myself for not thinking to do the same. Then I noticed some kids brought little bags, and that in those little bags were little Valentines. As in, Valentines for your classmates. Um, k-k-kiss asses? I already knew the answer. I forgot that because of the holiday on Friday the Valentine exchange would be today, Wednesday. Why it didn’t occur to me that a Valentine exchange would occur during a Valentine party is beyond me. Hell, this morning I thought today was Monday so I’m just happy I didn’t show up to school with an Easter basket.
I needed to get Mikey in class and figure out when this Valentine thing was going down. I walked briskly into Mikey’s class and rushed the teacher.
JULES: “So,” I said in that casual, offhand way people use to talk about the weather, “Are the kids exchanging Valentines today?” The last part ended up sounding rather shrill, so my plan to sound cool disintegrated in one brief, Peter-Brady-trying-to-sing-for-the-talent-show moment.
MRS. W: “We sure are! We’re all going to put them in everyone’s special bag they made earlier in the week! Mikey can just put his in his cubby until we’re ready!”
(Whee! That’s just flippin’ FANTASTIC!)
JULES: “Uh huh. Yeah. Well. [ahem] And when might that exchange happen?” I felt myself rocking on my heels from side to side, like some Olympic sprinter warming up for a big race–in my case, against the clock.
MRS. W: “Oh, I don’t know. Maybe 9:30?”
JULES: “Oh, really?” I managed to choke out. “In 30 minutes, huh?”
MRS. W: “Yes. But now that I have you here let me go over some paperwork real fast.”
JULES: “Real fast.”
MRS. W: “I’m sorry?”
JULES: “Oh, nothing! You were saying real fast?”
MRS. W: “I’m about to hand you Mikey’s registration packet for next year. Now, it’s really, really, really important that you stay and fill it out right now because spots fill up suuuuuuper fast for 4 year olds and you want to secure your spot!”
JULES: “He he he. Right now, huh?” A wave of Catholic guilt slapped me in the face. “IforgottheValentines.” It all came out in a tumbled rush.
MRS. W: “Oh. Well, maybe you can get something and Mikey can just do the exchange at 11:30 during snack.”
(Now there’s a an invitation if I ever heard one.)
JULES: “Oh, that won’t be necessary. 9:30 you say? And its…Oh! Look at that. 9:10.”
MRS. W: “Don’t forget the registration packet…”
JULES: “See you at 9:30!” Shit. Crap. Crappity-crap-crap-shit-crap. I am so flippin’ screwed.
I will be positively amazed if anyone in the administration office can read one thing on that registration packet. I wrote it out so fast I shredded the paper with the sheer force I used on the pen clenched maniacally in my hand. I was out the door in less than three minutes. 9:13.
I peeled into the parking lot of the nearest Ralphs and all but threw Nicholas into the shopping cart as I ran into the store and flew into the Valentine section. Being the guilt stricken mom that I am, I scanned the racks for the fanciest, most expensive Valentines. Twenty-seven 3D Animal Valentines for $3.99? SOLD! I made a mad dash to the pen section for a red sharpie. I was willing to pay $52. I found a set of three for $4. Back down the aisle and now in a frenzied sprint to the self check aisle. This entire time Nicholas remained in the cart thanks to the centrifugal force caused by my running around.
It wouldn’t be a deadline without a blue hair tossed into the mix. I just pulled out of my parking space when right in front of me appeared a 104 year old woman making a 65-point turn to get out of her parking space. She was in front of me the entire way back to school. I wanted to poke my eyes out with the 3D Valentines and use my red Sharpie to write “Move it, Grandma!” backwards on my windshield on the off chance she ever bothered to look in her rear view mirror.
Finally, finally, finally, I made it back to school. I parked in the closest space possible and called the co-room mom on her cell. (Yes, I’m the other room mom. The irony hasn’t escaped me.)
JULES: “HOWMANYKIDSAREINTHECLASS?!?!?!” As I ripped open the Valentines and Sharpies with my bared teeth.
CO-ROOM MOM: “15. But put in two extras for the teache…”
JULES: “HOWMUCHTIMEDOIHAVE?! HAVETHEYSTARTED?!”
CO-ROOM MOM: “I don’t know…it’s 9:28 and I’m just turning in my registration packet…”
I quickly wrote out 17 times:
TO: My Friend
I tossed Nicholas, again, but this time into the umbrella stroller. I grabbed the Valentines, locked the car, and started running through the school. And here is where I get crazy. No joke, as I ran through the parking lot pushing the stroller I suddenly thought to myself, Hey. Check it out. I’m running an no one is chasing me.
I tore open the gate, ran down the short hall, and opened the class door. Mrs. W. looked up with a shocked look on her face.
MRS. W: “You’re here! With Valentines! And we’re just about to start! Wow. You are a Super Mom.”
JULES: “Actually, I’m just a really good Super Lousy Mom. Let’s get this party started, shall we?”