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When Tre was six years old, he looked like Christopher Robin. Something about his legs, I think, straight and strong and spindly, poking out of his shorts. His knees were often battered. His hair fell straight and shiny and dark brown, and under it his eyes were enormous, intense, and stained-glass brown.

One morning, shortly after his biological dad left, I woke up to hear something thumping downstairs. I slipped out from between infant Raphi and three-year-old Max and peeked in at Tre's bed. It was empty, and I hurried down to the kitchen to find him.

The door to the car port was in the kitchen, and a few weeks before, the handle of that door had been slammed into the wall hard enough to punch a hole in the drywall. I had bought a...thing to fasten to the wall over the hole. A rubber bumper for the handle. It wasn't a perfect solution, but it covered the hole, and the thought of patching the drywall and figuring out how to match the texture, and finding the right paint...there was no earthly way. Some mornings the thought of showering made me want to lie down on the floor and cry. 

Apparently actually installing the bumper was too much work too, because I'd brought it into the house, tossed it on the nearby dryer, and left it there. 

Tre must have noticed this undone task, because he'd dragged a step-stool over to the hole in the wall, and pulled the plastic bag with the bumper in it open. His small, determined fingers made dimples all over the plastic where he'd worked at breaking through. And now he was kneeling on the step-stool, leaning against a screwdriver, trying to turn a screw with enough pressure to force it into the drywall. 

The screwdriver slipped and his knuckles scraped along the wall - again it seemed. Tears were suspended in his enormous eyes and he muttered to himself. 

"Tre?" I whispered, stepping into the kitchen. He swung around, startled. Those tears spilled down his cheeks, little rivers now that they'd started.

"I can't do it," he gasped, sobs punching him in the chest, "I keep trying but I hurt my hand and I can't."

I gathered him up and sat down on the floor with him and together we dripped tears on each other, on the floor, on the whole world.

"Tre," I finally said, "do you know what your job is?"

"WHAT?" he breathed, as though he'd been dying to know.

"Your job is to be a kid. And do you know what a kid is supposed to do?" He shook his head. His eyes were so big. "A kid is supposed to play. And read. And learn. And climb trees."

"And ride bikes?"

"And ride bikes. And my job is to be your mom. My job is to take care of you. And take care of the stuff, like lunch, and laundry, and this wall. You be a kid, and I'll be the mom. Okay?"

It became a litany of sorts, whenever Tre weighed himself down with wanting to fix things. "What's your job?" I'd whisper, and eventually, he'd grin back at me, and slip back into his own day.

Today I looked at my son, my broad shouldered man of a son. He's taller than me, and that straight brown hair now hangs in unruly curls that usually obscure his big brown eyes. He talks about following his heart, but his heart right now is unruly, and I'm afraid. I remember what it felt like, when I knew what to say to him, knew the words that would reach him right where he was. 

Do you know what your job is? I ask.

But today I ask myself. And today I don't know the answer.


It just is.

Tonight Tre and I talked. About this and that, small stuff that doesn't matter, and big stuff that oh my. Matters. He's had a rough week. Of course, I can't tell you anything about his rough week, except that he's picking his way through a minefield of teen angst and drama, and I'm proud of the honorable man he's becoming. 

I had to go pick up Max and Raphael from church tonight, after tucking Sophia in bed. Max had choir practice and Raphi had youth group. My bedtime routine with Sophia comes before Clay's, so I was the one to go pick them up. On my way out the door, Tre offered to come with me, and what was I going to say? No?

I couldn't say no.

All week long he's come home, wearing various shades of misery. I've hovered, offered words of comfort or advice, and he's stood, half turned away from me, silent and slump-shouldered. I can't tell how much I'm annoying him, but I assume that if he's still in the room, he doesn't mind too much.

I'm not very good at parenting teens. I feel inadequate lots of the time. I get upset too easily, and my voice sounds strident even to my own ears. I rarely know what is safe to say or do or feel. It's all happening too fast, and the issues have suddenly gotten so crazy big. 

On the drive to the church, we talked about stuff again. College plans, or maybe he'll play music instead. Button-pushing stuff for me, but I listened and responded, reasonably I hope. 

All I want is for him, for all of them, to be safe and happy always. Is that so much to ask?

We arrived at church, mildly late, and Tre waited in the car while I hurried in to gather up the boys. Raphael looked up to see me and sagged with disappointment. 

"Can I have just a few more minutes?" he pleaded. I said he could have five, and then he should head out to the van and wait. I cannot tell you how crazy it makes me to have to find a child again when the other child is found. So. Crazy.

Then I headed off to collect Max. Choir practice ALWAYS runs late, due to the enthusiasm and exacting nature of the choir director, which I persistently remind myself is a good thing. A Good Thing. 

Up a flight of stairs, skirting around two teen girls who were clearly anticipating something exciting to befall them soon, down a hall, and to the room with the choir. They weren't done. I glanced in, but I always get such startled looks from the choir members if they see me loitering at the door, so I quickly ducked back.

I leaned against the wall, and listened to their voices. The light was dim, and as I stood there, I imagined just a moment, my sons, each spinning around me, in their own chaotic, terrifying, beautiful orbit. It made me dizzy, and I slid down the wall to sit with my eyes closed.

They are so far beyond my reach anymore. It is good. It is terrible.

It just is.


My cat

I assumed you'd like an update on how Melody is doing, since no one asked, ever. Seems obvious, right?

Well, Melody is doing just fine. When I first saw her, the "adoption counsellor" told me a little about her likes and dislikes.

"She's very...food motivated," she said delicately. Once we got her home, we soon discovered what that meant. Melody must have a full food bowl AT ALL TIMES. If she can see the bottom of the bowl, even a tiny glint of the stainless steel surface, she meows as loudly and pitifully as she can. When you come to see who is pulling the cat's ears off, she races over to the bowl, frantic to show you the horror. And then, when you try to pour food in her bowl, she plunges her head into the stream of kibble, scattering it everywhere. 

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Also, she's kind of fat. 

But that's okay. When we got her, my biggest worry about Melody was that she'd remain wild. She was probably mostly feral in her previous life in the Bahamas. And truly feral cats are just always feral. Melody had that fearful look, and when she ran, it was low to the ground and slinky. I almost didn't pick her because of the wild in her, but in the end I took a chance, because she had such a drive to love. When I reached out to pet her, she leaned into my hand, nearly falling over in her frantic need to connect. 

And I was right to gamble on that need to connect, because she's connected indeed. She sleeps on anyone she can trap underneath her considerable girth. She doesn't like to presume she's allowed on the bed, so she prowls around, meowing gentle meows (not like the empty food bowl meows) until she is extended an invitation. Clay muttering, "What is wrong with that cat?" counts as an invitation in her book.

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She loves Max the best, and when he leaves for school in the morning, she wanders around the silent house, crying. She sounds miserable, and won't stop until I coax her onto my bed. Then she curls up on my shoulder and sleeps until I remove her. 

When I was a teen, I had a cat named Dinky. She was crazy. One day she was on the roof, and she went to jump off, but changed her mind. It was too late, and she fell and broke her leg. After that, she was even crazier than ever. She hid from people and bit them on the ankle in passing. She looked at you with wide, fierce, wild eyes. She raced around the house, erratic and insane. She slept with me, and because I was 13, I recognized her heart.

I was fierce and prickly and given to rash decisions I regretted. I had no idea what I might do next, a thought which both scared and thrilled me. I curled around her when curled up in my bed, and I loved her more than anything. She was mine.

Now there is this new cat, this silly, hungry, loving cat who doesn't want to intrude, but longs for everyone she loves to be home always. This cat whose love is the only thing keeping her from being feral. She may love Max the best, but it doesn't matter. She's mine.

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Once upon a time...part 4

Part 3 is here

 

The next Sunday, getting ready for church, I was apprehensive. You know how men can be churlish when you reject them? I couldn't decide which would be worse, if Clay was snide at me, or if he had just moved on, unruffled. Don't ask me how I explained to myself that this would bother me, when I was claiming not to be the slightest bit interested. It's a good thing you weren't there that morning. I was a little huffy.

When we arrived at church, however, Clay was neither irritated nor uninterested. He made a beeline over to me, said hi, and followed it up with something audacious line like, "You look very pretty. I'm so glad to see you."

I mean! You look pretty? It was like being stalked by Almanzo Wilder, I muttered to myself.

I smiled, though. 

I was in charge of the church prayer chain, so my email address was all over the bulletin. He approached me after the service, bulletin in hand, and asked if I would mind if he emailed me. Ooooookay?

I had the first email in my inbox the next morning. It wasn't long, about a paragraph, chatty and light.

I smiled. 

And after a day or so, I responded. 

And back and forth we emailed for about a month. I don't even know what we said to each other, but he was cordial and funny and polite and smart and free with the compliments. What reason could I possibly invent to tell him to leave me alone? And although I still didn't want to admit it, when I turned my computer on in the morning, the reason had become to look for an email from Clay.

After a month or so, he asked me in an email if it would be alright if he called me. I thought about that for a while, then answered. Yes. The boys should all be asleep by 9. You can call me then. The minute I hit send I had a minor panic attack. Ohnonononono, what had I done? He was going to CALL ME now and then he would expect me to TALK. To HIM. And this was clearly a TERRIBLE TERRIBLE IDEA. 

I got the boys to bed that night and retired, as always, to bed with my laptop. The phone just happened to be at my side, leaning against my leg. I was probably IMing Mir. I was acting pretty cool, but I was in a cold sweat. 

But then, of course, at 9 on the dot, the phone rang, and I threw my laptop across the bed, I startled so hard.

We talked for at least two hours that night, about nothing and everything. I laughed and laughed, and when I had to go pee, I lied to him and told him I was checking on the boys, would be right back. And I did hurry right back. My ear started to ache from the way I was leaning into the phone. 

And when we finally hung up, I was smiling.

For months this went on - MONTHS. One night Clay told me he'd fallen asleep at work, while filling out paperwork. His head dropped to the desk and he smacked his forehead. I laughed, but that had actually happened. We were insane. We regularly talked until one or two in the morning. Sleep was just not as important. The morning would dawn and I would float downstairs to breakfast. Little birdies fluttered around my head and tied my sash. The pupils in my eyes formed hearts. I beamed at people. And kittens. And walls. 

It was bad. 

By this point I was so smitten that I was almost ready to admit it - even to myself. But now we were in this pattern. We were...phone friends? I'd assured him so many times that I didn't want to date that I was afraid he believed me. What was I supposed to do now? 

Clearly, we were doomed. 

 


The sort of week I've had

Tomorrow is laundry day, and sitting right there? About two feet to my right? Is not one, but two baskets of unfolded laundry from LAST WEEK'S laundry day. I was going to say my bathroom has needed cleaning all week, but the truth is that my everything has needed cleaning all week, and I've gotten to about 23% of it all. Sophia has a calendar from preschool, and she's supposed to cross off the days as they pass, and we haven't even glanced at it since the 13th. 

That's the kind of week I've had. 

Yesterday I took Raphael and Sophia on a walk, so we could collect leaves for a fall project, because I think they vote you off the homeschooling island if you don't iron leaves between sheets of waxed paper at some point in October. I'm pretty sure I read that somewhere. 

I'd been putting that walk in the "fail" column, because the leaves are still in the bag, hanging on the key rack, and because being out of the house meant I didn't get to see Tre in the few minutes between school and work. I hate missing Tre, but especially this week, because he's had a tough week for reasons I would not DREAM OF MENTIONING on my blog. (He's fine.) (But 18.) (Privacy. Better late than never.)

But then today I was going through pictures on my phone, deleting the quintillion selfies Sophia takes in a standard week, and I came across the pictures I took on that walk. And I realized that A) I remembered to take pictures and B) it was lovely.

I don't mean my pictures, because, well. We've seen my adroit ways with the camera. I mean the season. And my kids. 

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We had such a nice time, too. Peaceful. Cooperative.

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You know, if racing can be cooperative. Sophia told me recently that she's a very fast runner. She runs like THE WIND. She can beat ANYONE in a race. Then she shook her head. Anyone except Raphael. 

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I think it's good they've got each other.

So I don't think that walk goes in the "fail" column after all. I think if those leaves desiccate and crumble in the bag hanging from the key rack, that it was still good. I think my week was about more than what I didn't finish.

And that's why I'm writing again. To remember what really happened.

 


And THEN? I got bit by a stray dog. Really. But I'm okay.

A few weeks ago I had SUCH A DAY. Oy. We had house guests coming (reallllllllly important ones - I'll tell you more about that later), and so I was in Frenzied Cleaning Mode. On top of that, I was all stressed out about something that I don't have the power to fix, which is not really a hobby I can recommend, having spent a good four decades trying it out now. Really hard to level up on that one. Add in a lovely monthly cocktail of hormonal emotion-roiling, and I was pretty much the picture of grace and beauty. Except...not.

Anyhow, one of the things I had planned for that particular day was the releasing of the butterflies. I'd gotten Sophia a butterfly hatching kit, see? I did the same thing with the boys when they were little, and it was a huge success. You get caterpillars in the mail, and they crawl around, eating stuff, and then they form cocoons, and after a while, butterflies come out! Just like they told you in elementary science class! It's really kind of amazing to watch, and I figured it would be a slam dunk with Sophia. Butterflies! 

Well, after they come out of their cocoons, you have to let them go within a few days. Butterflies don't actually live all that long, and I both wanted them to be able to live out their life cycle in nature, as God intended, and I would like to prefer to pretend that pretty things don't die for a little while longer. Never mind that one cocoon that the butterfly never came out of. Shhhh. No.

The time came to release our butterfly friends to go! And fly free! And be happy! I called Sophia out onto the porch, butterfly habitat in hand, a big smile on my face.

She burst into tears.

She didn't WANT to let them go! They were her FRIENDS! They would be SAD without her! She would be SAD FOREVER without THEM!

Remember, this is the girl who weeps over returning library books. How did I not see this coming? HOW?

I sat down and cuddled her and we talked about it for a while. She was not entirely reconciled to the idea, but I was firm that we had to let them go. She agreed, as long as we took lots of pictures so she could look at them and remember them FOREVER. 

Agreed.

I grabbed my phone and we headed outside.

My phone takes pretty good pictures, despite my gift at photography. However, like the rest of my smarter-than-I-phone, I struggle with the camera a bit. When I first started taking pictures of The Great Butterfly Release of 2013, I had pushed the wrong button, swinging the camera around to take pictures of my own ridiculous face. Is there a less flattering angle to take pictures from? Seriously. I took a few pictures of myself, squinting and frowning down at my camera, and I have never looked older or more haggard. Stunning. It was like I had my own personal tabloid photographer. 

But then I realized what I was doing, and I pushed the button to make the camera look out at Sophia and the butterflies instead. What I didn't realize was that I'd also added a feature to my pictures, where I inserted a postage stamp picture of myself into the otherwise lovely picture of Sophia, crying. I was going to show you a few of these pictures, but the shreds of my pride won't allow me. Really, it looked like Sophia was being menaced by a floating hag-head. And the hag was having a bad day. For a hag. Which is probably a very bad day. 

Here's the least offensive one, mainly because I managed to miss myself in the picture I didn't realize I was taking of myself (not an easy thing to do, in case you're wondering). 

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Ooooohhhhh, yeeeeeaaahhh.

So I'm thinking about starting a combination parenting/photography class, wherein I can teach you how to traumatize your children and take creepy pictures of them AT THE SAME TIME! Let me know what you think I should charge for this. I don't want to brag, but I haven't seen anything else like it out there. Seriously.


Toga partly

Homeschooling this year has been kind of a drag. When I looked forward to the year with only Raphael at home (and Sophia, but only sort of, and all you really have to do to have a well rounded preschool curriculum is read to them and play), I was nervous about it just being the two of us, in a face-off, all year. I decided that what I really needed was to plan an active, exploratory sort of year. We would follow his bliss! We would discover our own city! We would have adventures, but the kind that let you have regular meals, because Raphael is a sufferer of what Ree, the Pioneer Woman once termed "Low Blood Sugar Cranky Butt Syndrome." Big time. 

But then the actual school year began, and all my plans were tossed out the window in favor of pr-algebra. 

Stupid pre-algebra.

Raphi goes to a one day a week homeschool enrichment program, and this year he's taking pre-stinking-algebra. If possible, I hate it even more than I did when I took it, and that's saying something. That's saying MANY things, a fair portion of them being swear words. 

Pre-algebra takes up an ungodly portion of our school day. He comes home every week with a ton of homework, and they're using Saxon, which (sorry to break into homeschoolspeak) is my least favorite math curriculum, ranking just below ignorance.

So instead of my free-wheeling, adventuring sort of school year, I'm stuck at the kitchen table, going over math problems until my face melts. Like, last week we took half a day off to go see a Michelangelo and Da Vinci exhibit downtown, and therefore ended up doing math until almost 10 Sunday night. Gah.

I should point out here that Raphael is doing fine. Raphael has an A in pre algebra, and sort of loves it. Let your freaky math flag fly, my boy. 

I, on the other hand, am feeling a little pouty about what happened to my school year. This could be my last year of homeschooling, after THIRTEEN YEARS. I wanted some fun. I wanted some color.

Recently Raphael was plotting out his costume for the All Saint's Day party at youth group. He wants to go as St. Michael the Archangel, so he looked up how to make a toga out of a bed sheet (which started a whole discussion between us about how he really wanted a cloak sort of thing, not a toga, which looks more like a Roman soldier, and he suggested I could instead buy him a leather breastplate and a tunic, which would really do the trick, and I said hey, how about a toga instead?). He managed to tie a very serviceable toga around himself, which he showed us all with great pride.

And then he decided that a toga? Was an awesome item of clothing. Comfy, non-restricting, satisfyingly billowy when you run. There was talk of air flow around the nethers too, but I try not to pay any attention to all that. He started wearing random color sheet togas all the time. Last night, in the middle of dinner, excused himself to the bathroom and came back in a red toga. As one does.

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This is what he looks like much of the time these days. 

And then, as it often happens with these things, the togas started spreading.

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Even the dolls were swept away by the toga tide.

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This afternoon we ended the school day with a dance party (as one does). We discovered that if you spin around in circles, or swing a little girl around by her hands, a toga can fill with air and make you look like a balloon, which is endlessly amusing. If you're four. If you're twelve and think dance parties are kind of dumb, you might find this unimpressive.

But I made him dance anyway, and I watched them there, wearing their togas for no good reason other than their hearts thought it was a good idea. I am no superstar homeschooler. We do alright, but no one here is winning any academic competitions. But this part of it? Where they can follow their own strange whims and it's just fine? This is the part I'm good at.

It turns out color wasn't an all-or-nothing proposition this year after all.


Wishes

Sophia is on Fall Break this week, which I should point out right off the bat is not something she considers a good idea. Once upon a time she would have been all glowy-eyed at the prospect of extra time with Mama, but that was Pre Preschool, and now it's just an irritating interruption in What Should Be. I would also like to point out that, with four kids in four different school districts (yes, really), we will be observing three different weeks of Fall Break this month. This is not, in fact, a break for me. I think my Fall Break is coming in about 14 years or so. Not sure.

Anyhow, since Sophia didn't have preschool, we were able to hit storytime at the library, which was a great joy to her. Well, a great joy complicated by the need to return a bazillion library books. Returning library books is always hard. Sophia stands next to me, clutching at each book as I take it out of the bag, "OH NO, MOM, NOT THIS ONE! We only read that one FOUR TIMES!" She weeps. Great tears splash down her cheeks. She just can't help it, she LOVES THEM ALL SO MUCH and she doesn't understand why they can't ALL STAY WITH HER FOR ALWAYS.

All of you who mentioned that having a girl might be a shade different from the boy bundle I was used to? Yeah. Gotcha.

Anyhow, we've come to an agreement on book-return day, and Sophia runs off to the shelves to find new books (or even better - BOOKS WE CHECKED OUT BEFORE, LOOK I FOUND IT MOMMY!), while I frantically stuff books in the return slot and urge her not to look (no, really).

Next to the book return slot was a display, a wall covered with a print of the night sky. On it were pinned paper stars, with people's wishes written on them. I stopped to read a few, and ended up standing there, transfixed, for the longest time.

"I wish for a puppy" was a common one, written in shaky child print. Substitute "horse" or the creatively spelled "pone" for some of them.

"I wish I could be with my mom."

"I wish for a baby brother."

"I wish I could go to school, but not have to do classes, so I could just be with my friends."

"I wish my mom would get well."

Not all of them were from children. One young woman wrote, "I wish I could be maide of honor for Stacee's wedding - and that she would just let me plan the whole damn thing." Word to the wise, Stacee - be careful of that one. Be verrrry careful.

I stood there and stood there and read the wishes, so boldly displayed on the library wall. On a ledge at my fingertips was a sliding stack of paper stars, a single blue pen, and an envelope of tiny yellow and white push pins.

"I wish I could see the stars."

"I wish I could run fast."

"I wish I had friends and wasn't so weird all the time."

"I wish to know how to be happy."

That last one was mine. After I wrote Sophia's wish down for her ("I wish I could fly."), I scribbled mine down and pinned it in place, defiant and hopeful. 

Not so much that I put my name on it, though.

I should be happy already, I know. I have a happy life. If I were to imagine my perfect life, this would pretty much be it, except maybe I'd be thinner and the cat wouldn't meow so much in the mornings. But I have this...habit, I suppose it is, when something frightens me. Or perhaps I should say more accurately, when I think something is frightening. I spiral, remembering all the things that have ever gone wrong, running my fingers through the ashes of every loss, bracing myself for every blow I have already weathered.

People I love are hurting. Some are hurting themselves, even. And other people I love are teens and scare me half to death on a regular basis. I have become the worst kind of fool, so busy fearing what might be that I am unable to see the good that is. 

I want to remember how to be happy, and the best I can figure is that gratitude has something to do with it. Which brings me to why I am here today. 

I used to write my daily stories here, and every time I did, I stretched to tell it true. And 99 times out of 10, that meant finding what I was grateful for. I think I need that in my days again, now more than ever, so I'm saying this here, out loud, with my name on it, that I intend to write here again, regularly. 

I once wrote to capture my kids' childhood. Maybe I need to write to recapture my own adulthood. 

So I guess I'm back. No, really.


A Symphony of Fail, or Checkmate

I feel like today's story starts yesterday, when I was carried away by the beauty of Colorado in the fall. The days have been golden and mild, showing off rich reds and yellows, while the nights have been gorgeously cool. It's supposed to freeze, and even possibly snow this weekend, and I was feeling a little panicky at how quickly the season was escaping.

"We should take a picnic dinner and go hiking tomorrow night," I told Clay. "Everyone will be home, and we can go on that path by the school I walked on the other day. It was BEAUTIFUL."

"Um," he said, "yeah...but the sun goes down awfully early these days..."

I pushed on through his doubt, sure that this was what we needed to do, as a family, to enjoy the fleeting autumn moments. And see, that's where it starts, because I thought I could shoehorn a moment of peace into our lives. And so our lives had to prove me wrong.

Then we realized that Max had an Ultimate Frisbee game after school, and then he had choir at church that night and Raphael had youth group, leaving a 45 minute window of time for hiking and eating and savoring, so yeah. Never mind. 

THEN, Tre got home from work after 10 and informed us that there was a meeting at school that night, at 6. *sigh*

Okay, Clay and I huddled up to figure out how to make it all happen. These conversations remind me of chess. You know how, when you're playing chess, you have to keep in mind everyone on the board, and how they move and what will happen? I always think of these strategy discussions as Family Chess. I never was all that good at chess. 

Anyhow, we got it all sorted out eventually. Tre would pick up Max after his game. Clay would go to the meeting, and I would take Max and Raphi to church, which would even leave me time to go to yoga! Yay! Tre would hold down the fort with Sophia until Clay came home, and he would still have time to give her a bath. Whew! Done.

The first sign that our plan was coming unravelled was when Tre called this afternoon, to inform us that he HAD to be at the meeting tonight. Damn. We shuffled, and came up with the plan that Clay would go with Tre and take Sophia to the meeting, so I could still go to yoga after dropping off the others. Done.

But then Tre went to pick up Max, and he wasn't back at the school after his game yet. He waited. He called home. He waited some more. Eventually, there wasn't going to be enough time for him to come home and turn around to go to the meeting. Okay. Okay. So we decided Clay and I would take Sophia and go meet Tre and Max, and then Clay, Tre, and Sophia would go to the meeting, and I would go back and get the other boys and STILL YOGA. Dinner would be eaten in the car at some point along the way. DONE.

I kept calling Tre on the way to see if Max was there yet, and he kept not being there, so we ended up driving the whole way to his school. Tre climbed out of his car and came over to talk to us. We briefly outlined the plan, and he turned back to grab his backpack. When he walked over to his car, peered in the window, and went decidedly slumped at the shoulders, I knew.

Because of course.

Tre had locked his keys in the car. 

Of Course.

But it was okay, because he had his spare key with him. In his backpack. On the back seat of the car. 

OF COURSE.

And I will spare you all the rest of the details, except to say that Clay, Tre, and Sophia got to the meeting, which was about band instruments, and somehow we are now paying for the "privilege" of Tre having access to a snare drum. Sophia lost her ever-loving mind at being in the car too long without food. She went unbathed. My mom came to wait with me while I waited for the locksmith. Max spent about an hour being embarrassed by me being at his school in yoga clothes, despite the fact that no one else was there. I did not make it to yoga, so I compensated by doing cartwheels on the school lawn, which is nothing like yoga, but has the advantage of making Max wild with embarrassment. My dad took Raphael to youth group, which turned out to be cancelled anyway. Max never did make it to choir, which was probably for the best, since he has a cold. And the Mom took most of us out to dinner, which was a lovely way to end a day that was otherwise a symphony of fail.