I know my life is pretty easy. I have heard countless stories of the early pioneers who trudged across this rugged land, over mountains, pulling their belongings in carts, leaving belongings behind, burying family members along the way... trust me, I get it! But one particular day, I wondered if MY life could get any worse.
It all started one morning when the alarm didn't go off. I awoke to my oldest son standing at my bedside asking if it was time to get up for school. I don't know which took longer, trying to see the clock through the slits in my eyes, or my brain processing the time of day. 7:37! The bus was passing our stop at that very moment, so I knew that I would be taking him to school that day. I knew I was going to have to book it like the house was burning in order to get him breakfast, pack a lunch, make sure he was polished for the day and get out the door. The dilemma came when I had to choose between getting him there on time, and getting myself presentable. I chose the first. I put on a bra and took one quick glance in the mirror... long enough to see the mismatched attire I called pajamas, mascara smudges under my eyes, and a serious case of stringy, flat hair! But honestly, it wasn't as bad as it could have been... and it was nothing that tinted windows on my husband's car wouldn't hide. So we were off!
The whole way I was praying that the Parent Drop-Off was still open... otherwise, I would have to take him in the front door and sign him in at the office. Luckily, there were a few cars still dropping kids off. However, he was in kindergarden, and although we were a couple months into school, I had never dropped him off at the Parent Drop-Off before, so I wasn't confident that he knew how to get to his classroom from that entrance. So I tried to forget about my appearance to jump out of the car and walk him to the Assistant Principal who greeted everyone and let her know that he didn't know the way to his classroom. She assured me that someone would show him the way, so I turned back around only to find that the car had stalled and died right there in the Drop-Off lane. I turned the key again, only to hear a faint click... and then nothing. I tried again... click... and then nothing. Again, I offered up a quick prayer and focused all my positive energy onto the key in the ignition. Although I knew nothing of the inner workings of a vehicle, I visualized (I heard this worked somewhere) the motor being triggered and springing to life with a roar. Still nothing. As cars were swerving around my idle car, I realized my defeat and trudged to the door of the school, preparing to face the world in my pajamas!
I walked as quietly as I could, but my heavy flip-flops echoed through the empty hallways. Thank goodness for empty hallways, although, every now and then I would pass a teacher or administrator. After all, I was an adult just like they were. The only difference was they were dressed nicely, hair combed, with a touch of make-up, and I was none of the above. So I had to force myself to walk purposefully with my head up, rather then hang my head in shame. With my head up and a slight hunch in my posture, I finally reached the office, to use the phone to call my husband. I called the house phone, but no answer. I called again... and again. I tried his cel phone... again and again. When they saw my predicament, the secretaries in the office were so sweet and offered me their cars to get home, but I just couldn't accept it. I had to figure this out for myself. So I walked back through the entire school to where the car sat in the Drop-Off lane. I tried to start it one last time, before I starting walking home.
We live fairly close to the school; it's only a 5 minute drive. I was sure if I cut through trees and parking lots, I could get home much faster. The sun wasn't completely up yet, so it wasn't that hot, but the air was thick with humidity. Water literally hung in the air and clung to my hair making it even more flat and more stringy then before. The grass was wet and my flip-flops were larger then most causing my arches to ache as I struggled to keep from slipping, and the straps rubbed growing blisters on the tops of my feet. All the while, my temper was rising as I thought about a comment he had made a few days before about his car battery acting up. Why hadn't he gotten it fixed? Why hadn't he answered the phone when I called. I was preparing my argument and revving myself up for a fight.
Eventually, I made it home. I walked in the door to see all three phone handsets in a congregation on the kitchen counter. I walked upstairs and found my husband and second son snuggled up in my bed watching morning cartoons. I told him the story of where I had been and how I had to walk through the school in my pajamas, and then walk ALL the way home. I turned to walk into the bathroom, and the only thing he said was, "You walked all over town with that hair? Check out the back!" he said.
I grabbed a mirror and held it up to see the back of my hair. The humidity had completely flattened the front and it was sticking to my face in places. But the moisture hadn't even affected the back of my hair... It was sticking straight up and could have housed a small bird! How could I have missed this? I stood there horrified, picturing myself as I walked through the school not realizing the mess I wore.
I know what you're thinking... the pioneers had to deal with much worse. And I feel terrible about the things they had to endure... broken wagon wheels, sick children, no food or water. But one thing for sure... at least they had a bonnet!
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