“So how are you?” Laura asks, her lowered eyes inform me somethings up.
“You know, the usual day. Chaos in the morning before school and Wil woke up with a sore throat at 3am. What is it about 3am? Everything happens at 3am, not 3pm,” I answer.
Her finger rubbed the outside of her coffee cup and she bit her lip. A mother’s life is a complicated one. Full of joys, secrets and burdens held close and not revealed to everyone and sometimes to no one. We’d achieved a place in our friendship where we share things but not everything. At our age no one shares all her secrets, but sometimes you just need a girlfriend reality check.
I continued to ramble on about the middle of the night tonsil check.
“I feel like a horrible mother.”
When a girlfriend drops that statement, it trumps the sore throat incident at 3am.
“What happened?” I asked.
“I forgot to pick up Tim from school yesterday,” she answered. She searched my face for criticism or acceptance.
I nodded my head in understanding. Far be it from me to judge another mother. We all know we’re not perfect.
“Are you ok?” I asked.
“No,” she said looking down at her double tall caramel latte. “I feel absolutely horrible.” There was a pause. I said nothing. She needed to feel safe to say what she was about to say.
“I was running errands with Jamie in tow and lost track of time,” she said. “We were in the checkout at Target and when I looked at my watch, I realized it was twelve o’clock. I am supposed to pick up Tim from school. I was 10 minutes from the school, eight minutes away with all green lights.”
“Wow, that’s pretty good time from Target,” I quipped. She didn’t smile. Her eyes welled up.
“Who forgets their kid at school? Who does that?” She asked.
“You’re not the only one. Once the kids hit school and start activities, it’s hard keeping everything straight. You’re bound to be late once in a while. Some of us are lucky we remember our own phone numbers”
Her shoulders eased. “Really?”
“Sherry picked up Susan from ballet late because of traffic. Carrie thought her husband picked up James from preschool. We’ve all been there. We’re all lucky if we’re wearing clean clothes and take a shower once a week.” I answered.
“But…,” she lingered.
“You’re a good mother Laura,” I stated. Her hand reached out and touched mine.
Sometimes that’s all we need to hear.