“Have you lost your damn minds?”
I can still hear it replaying in my mind.
I told my kids they could ride their new bikes around the block. One time! And to be back in five minutes to head out to basketball practice. They nodded and assured me they would be right back. They are 7 and 10 and are fairly responsible.
Well, five minutes passed. Then ten.
I walk outside, and no kids in sight.
I yell their names – no response.
Now I am freaking out.
I get in my car and begin to drive around the neighborhood. I call my dad and have him start driving around the neighborhood.
Thirty minutes passed, and no sign from either of my boys.
It’s beginning to get dark, and now I am in a full-fledged panic.
I start calling neighbors and friends.
No one has seen them.
Forty-five minutes pass. I’m looking up the number for the police department.
Fifty minutes pass.
It’s now pitch black.
We miss practice altogether, and I still can’t find them.
I dial the 9 on my phone, getting ready to type in the 11, then it happens.
I get a text from a neighbors nanny, saying my seven-year-old and ten-year-old are playing with the kids she cares for in their back yard.
I rush over, and I am sweating from panic and hot from anger.
The second I roll up, they are laughing and in the middle of a competitive soccer match, oblivious to my near heart attack.
I rolled down the window and yelled out, “Have you lost your damn minds!? I was 2 seconds away from calling 911. You can’t just disappear and not tell me where you’re going.”
I could see neighbors were outside, and I didn’t even care. I was fuming mad.
“I said five minutes, and it’s been one hour!”
But mom, they said, “We were playing a game!”
I bite my lip and looked up at the sky, hoping Jesus, God, or a guardian angel would calm me.
“Get in the car. Now!” It’s all I could muster.
The sweet nanny stood there, clearly unsure how to respond.
It wasn’t her fault.
It was my kid’s fault.
And it was my fault I said damn in front of them. Not my proudest parenting moment, but also one I can’t change.
I tell you this story because I’m sure so many of you, like me, have lost your cool.
You have said and done things in front of your kids you wish you could take back.
Well, no parent in the universe is perfect. And if someone tells you they are, they are lying to you.
I apologized later for cussing, and the kids assure me they had heard the word damn at school.
It did remind me, it’s ok to make mistakes. Our kids love us through them.
And by the way, the boys have now taught their four-year-old sister the word damn. And when she used it this week in a sentence, instead of beating myself up anymore, I turned my back to her and silently smiled at the fact, she used it correctly in a sentence in the carpool line.
“Mom, why are we still at the damn school?”
I, of course, had to then have a talk with her about that word.
It’s the gift that keeps on giving, unfortunately. Mom fails all around.
But tomorrow will be better.