A few months ago, around 6:50 a.m., the boys and I were on our way to school when David, my 14-year-old, from the backseat says, “I guess I’m not going to my band concert tonight. It’s really not a big deal.”
I nearly swerved off the road. There are only two concerts a year, and they are both quite the events. “What? Of course you’re going. Why would you say you aren’t?”
“My white shirt and the black pants are too small.”
I nearly swerved off the road again. “Really? When were you going to tell me?”
“So you decide to tell me on the way to school on the day of the band concert when you know I have to work all day.”
“Sorry. I don’t need to go. It’s not a big deal. My band teacher will understand.”
“Oh, so she has been preparing you for months for this concert and you think she will totally understand if you don’t go because you failed to tell your mom in time that you need new clothes?”
I was afraid of anything that might spill out of my mouth and I guess they were, too, because we drove to school in silence.
After work I rushed to Kohl’s to find the required white dress shirt and black pants and, of course, they weren’t on sale. What choice did I have? I was being held up at the point of a band concert. I bought the clothes and picked up David from wrestling practice 30 minutes before he had to be at the concert.
“You really didn’t need to worry about it Mom. My band teacher would understand. She’s pretty reasonable.”
Um, you’re welcome.
A few weeks later Kevin and I were sitting at David’s wrestling match. Now, these matches typically last around three hours or more, so a wrestling match night is a late night. Kevin, my 9-year-old, between bites of popcorn, said in the most nonchalant voice, “Mom, can we stop by Walmart on the way home?”
“I need something for a project.”
“Something about solar systems. It’s due tomorrow.”
“Kevin, please tell me this is a joke.”
“I forgot about it until just now.”
Frantic, I sent a text to his teacher, apologized for bothering her at home, and said Kevin told me he has a project due tomorrow and this is the first time I have heard anything about it. (No smiley face.)
She texted back promptly and said that, yes, there was a discovery project on the solar system due in the morning, and it was also the end of the grading period, so he couldn’t turn it in late. (Smiley face and a thumbs up.)
That night was spent gluing and coloring Mercury, Venus, and Mars. Around and around we go.
The rules are simple: Tell me your due dates; give me notes from school when you get them; let me know what you need for a project a week ahead of time. Nowhere in the rules do the words “last minute” appear. I know they’re genetically capable of advance planning because when a friend is having a birthday party in two weeks, Kevin hands me the invitation right away and reminds me about it five times a day. They can do it; I just know they can.