One of the realities of parenting is the reality that reality can interfere with the best laid plans and make phooey.
It was one of those kinds of weeks in our home this week. Much phooey… in the form of a beast of a GI bug. The Boy and I were down and low for three days, and Joe was out of town at a client sight. Between the two of us, we had about the strength of green tea, one of the only things either of us could keep down. Naturally, however, the family machine churned as actively as our tummies, and there were still assignments to do, girls to ferry to school and soccer, lunches to pack, and jobs to be done.
As serendipity would have it, however, The Boy didn’t begin to feel ill until Monday night, and I was spared until Tuesday morning. We load our family board on Sunday evenings. As such, while I dragged myself through the minimum of things I had to attend to in order to keep the girls actionable while The Boy stayed in bed, the girls kept moving cards. They knew what they had to do, and took great satisfaction getting their work done without saying a word to me about it. Even through the haze of flu-funk, I watched with pride as they supported one another.
Frankly, I could have skipped stand up meeting this morning. All I wanted to do was drive the girls to school and get myself back home and into bed. Their erect postures as they faced the board, however, broadcast loud and clear that they had things to report! The Oldest Girl was a fountain of productivity, moving card after card, and clearly articulating her plans for more of the same this afternoon. The Baby, not to be outdone, proudly explained that she was able to use a stool to prop up her violin book so that she could practice by herself. She did all of her songs twice. The Middle Child began her report strong, confidently moving cards, and then said, “Oh, no! Oh! My math isn’t checked!”
It’s my job to check her Math before she turns it in. I didn’t even know if she had completed it. I said, “That’s OK, honey, we still have time, can you go get it?”
She was back in less than a minute with beautifully computed Math homework. She had completed it so accurately and well that it took only three minutes for me to check it. I marveled as they picked up their backpacks and lunches by the door and marched out together. It was like that Staples button, “That was easy!”
Later this afternoon when I picked her up from soccer, she began to tell me about her day. She explained that one of her classmates didn’t have his Math homework. She said, “He didn’t have any of it; he totally forgot all about it.”
I told her that was a shame and that I bet that he felt badly about that.
“Yeah,” she began with a hint of a self satisfied smile, and this is exactly what she said, “too bad he doesn’t have a board.”