Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Late for the Principal's Breakfast

Moron: (adj.) Used to describe a woman who, upon learning that her 14-year old daughter has been invited to the Principal's breakfast in recognition for earning a place on the Honor Roll, writes down the wrong time on her calendar.

Used in a sentence: I am a moron.


The irony of this sad tale is, my husband Bob and I pride ourselves on our promptness.  If our flight is at 10am, Bob insists on a 6am airport arrival.  If our movie is at 7pm, we'll be first in line at 6.  If our dinner reservation is 8pm, we're sitting at the bar by 7.  I wake up a half an hour earlier than necessary, get to work 15 minutes earlier than necessary, and arrive for doctor's appointments 20 minutes earlier than necessary (with the hopes that perhaps they'll call me back to the exam room sooner).

So, when I thought I had to be at Melissa's middle school at 8:30 am, I planned on leaving the house at 8:15 since the school is only two minutes away.  The first inkling that all had not gone according to plan came when my cell phone let out a familiar ding, alerting me to an incoming text.

"Where are you?" were the words that appeared on the screen from my frustrated daughter.

"Text her that we're arriving now," I instructed Bob, wondering why she seemed to be fretting when, according to my calculations, we were still a few minutes early.

The second sign that our plans had gone amiss came when we pulled into the parking lot and were greeted by an endless array of cars, forcing us to choose a spot near the street.  Yet, despite the lack of spaces, there was not another human soul in sight.


I started to pick up the pace, my heart full of worry.  Being late just did not exist in my vocabulary.

We entered the school only to find the cafeteria filled with parents and students, all listening attentively to the Principal.   Melissa waved her hand, and we made our way through the crowd to her table, all eyes upon us, all of them thinking, "Melissa's parents are late, those morons".

The worry, regret, and horror I felt at our grand entrance was mirrored in the look on my daughter's face.  Fear, worry, frustration, and hurt showed clearly through her eyes, which glistened a bit, fighting back the tears.  Horrible can not even begin to describe my feelings at that moment.  To think, even for a half an hour, that Melissa had feared we might not come.  When I had learned about this prestigious honor, I knew I wouldn't miss it for the world.  I had told my boss I would be in late, I had told my friends of her achievements, I had counted down the days.  And now, when the big moment had finally arrived, I became a bonehead (see definition of moron).

I must clarify here that Bob takes no blame or responsibility for our blunder.  It is a well known fact since we both said "I do" 18 years ago, that I am in charge of all social engagements.  Therefore, he looks to me to take the lead, and lead I did, right into our oh so grand, embarrassing entrance.

After our unsuccessful attempt to seem nonchalant, we made our way to Melissa's table, now devoid of any spare places to sit.  Some of Melissa's friends made room for Bob, while I scooted to the other side of the table to squeeze between two sympathetic moms.  Fortunately, the ceremony had just started.  We had only missed the breakfast portion of the event, not the awards portion.  (Although, I admit, my hunger pangs made themselves known as I longingly stared across the room at the bagels and pastries which were now off limits.)

We listened with enthusiasm as the Principal congratulated all of the students, and cheered as each of Melissa's friends, in alphabetical order, stepped up to accept their certificate of achievement.  The girls responded with looks of horror that grown adults would actually have the nerve to cheer for them!  I mean, how embarrassing!  We were doing an extremely terrible job of "officially pretending we didn't exist" per our teens' standard request.

After all of the students had certificates in hand, and the Principal pronounced the event officially over, Melissa and her friends gathered in the back of the room for photographs.  Moms and dads grabbed their cameras, positioning themselves for the perfect angle for shooting a moment in time.  The kids had known each other since first grade, and now had the pleasure of sharing one more memory together before closing the doors on their middle school career in one month's time.  Melissa, whose eyes now glowed with happiness, relief, and, a bit of embarrassment at the frantic attempts of an assortment of moms and dads to get the group to look their way.  She smiled along with Micaela, Sarah, Hannah, Emma, Sabrina, Natasha, John, Daniel, Jason, Nick, and Zack.  Thoughts of our late arrival long forgotten....except by me.

I walked out of the school cafeteria with moms I have known for years, laughing and reminiscing, clinging to the moment, reluctant to walk away and return to our jobs and responsibilities.  My good mood lasted until I got to the car, when I had time to reflect.  Despite the wonderful event, I seemed unable to divert my focus from being late....and as a result, subsequently causing Melissa to be upset on a day that should have been so special.

Eventually, my guilt subsided, and I forced myself to laugh about my blunder, realizing it would, at least, make for a good blog!

Melissa, I love you so much and I am so proud of you for working so hard to get good grades, and I promise I will always double and triple check the time from now on.  After all, I never again want to experience another tragedy as a result of arriving late.........I MISSED BREAKFAST!!
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  1. Hi Lisa! Wondered if you'd want to try my writing workshop hop -- interested in creative writing?

  2. Okay, Lisa, so when was the actual start time, 7:30 or 8am? I'm curious to know just how late you were.

    Anyway, all's well that ends well. At least you got there for the ceremony!

    1. We were a half an hour late, it started at 8am. And the kicker was, we weren't doing anything. We were just sitting at home waiting for it to be time to leave!