Juggling multiple projects, trying to get things done before my jury duty began, life at home began to slip. Groceries didn't get purchased, laundry didn't get done, the god-forsaken white-painted wood floor in the kitchen didn't get cleaned.
This morning, Eli went to look for a shirt for gym class at the new, beautiful Armory across from his school and, lo and behold, it was still wet, in the washing machine. He took the news good-naturedly after searching for it hopefully, in vain, amongst the piled-up dry laundry, the load that had been put in days ago.
I looked at him apologetically, like I had when I had forgotten to buy eggs, when I had forgotten to buy new toothpaste, when I stuck him in afterschool 'cause I was too busy to pick him up.
"I'm sorry," I said. "I guess as a Mommy this week, I get an F."
He didn't skip a beat. He looked up at me through his overgrown bangs, his big eyes filled with understanding. "No," he said, "A-"
I threw my head back and laughed. "So sweet, I love you!" I said, giving him a big kiss. He was adorable, only docking me slightly, still keeping me at the top of the range. "I think you deserve a gold star for that," I said, slightly tenuous, unsure of his interest in receiving one.
"Yeah, sure," he shrugged, nonchalance laced with excitement. Mr. Cool. "Do you have one?" he asked. We were out of so much else...
I laughed. "Of course." When I proffered it, he put it right on his shirt, the one he had chosen as good enough when the right one wasn't available. I loved that he could be flexible, not make a stink, let me off the hook. As I try harder and harder to get some of my own work off the ground, that is going to be important. I can't always be Super Mom. Sometimes, my kids are going to have to understand. Sometimes, they're going to have to go to school with mismatched socks, rumpled clothes, scraggly hair...It shouldn't really matter to their day. As long as they know I love them, as long as they know that these little oversights aren't signs of not caring, I think we'll all be OK.
"You know I love you..." I say to them all the time, many times a day. The typical response? "Well, duh!" That's what I like to hear. No matter how busy I get, I will always hammer home the message that loving them will never fall off the to-do list.
Hopefully now, though, I can get back on track. See, after a few hours waiting around at the courthouse, where I arrived on time to do my duty,I got called to the empaneling room in the courthouse and was told, along with my fellow jurors, that the trial had been settled. We were free to go, free for another 8 years!
A lightness in my step, I bounded out into the fresh air feeling like I had just escaped from prison. Ah, a huge weight had been lifted. No days spent frustrated and bored, serving out my sentence. My prayers had been answered.
I gave out a lot of gold stars, to a fellow juror and one for his wife, a lawyer for whom I felt a new sympathy; to the jury announcer guy who was the bearer of the good news, to a security guard "for protecting us!" I said; and to a guy I overheard respond to a friend's "How are you?" with a, "I'm trying, man, I'm really trying..."
In my sing-songy mood, I could have given out packs in mere moments. I refrained. There was a lot to do at home...I'm shooting for an A+ tomorrow!