Sunday, May 16, 2010

A thing my mom didn't teach me. And a thing she did.


Obviously. Exhibit A - this post. Yup - late again.

When I was a kid, we moved across town when I was between elementary school and junior high. This meant that I would have to go to a different school than all my other little buddies come the fall. To say I raised a stink at this prospect would be a vast understatement. After all, these were my bosom, lifelong friends and they would remain so should we continue on in our studies together. (I can remember the names of maybe three of those bosom chums today, their faces not at all, and am facebook friends with one of them. Yes, my logic was flawed. Oh hindsight...)

My parents, to their credit, acquiesced and enrolled me at the school I pined to attend... and then my lovely, wonderful, long-suffering mother drove me to and from school every day for three interminable years. I have yet to adequately apologize to her for putting her through that.

I suppose that it wouldn't have been quite so bad for Mom except that, every single day, she would pull up in front of the school and watch as all the other kids came out the doors, got into cars, or walked to the bus stop, or wandered home in twos and threes... and I would not appear. The last of the stragglers would leave and the teacher parking lot would empty and still my mom sat there in the car, wondering where the heck I was.

Eventually--and it was always a long eventually--I would emerge, knapsack full of books (almost none of them homework-related) and clamber into the front seat, where Mom sat, frowning faintly as she tried to parse my unfocused gaze and unexplained tardiness.

"Where were you?" she would ask (meaning perhaps physically and/or mentally).


"What took you so long?"

"Uh... I dunno... I was just thinking."

"You can't think and get your coat on at the same time?"

Well - apparently not. Because my busy little brain wasn't really up to multi-tasking at such a young and tender age but it was certainly occupied. I was an inveterate daydreamer and, as such, was easily distracted to the point where I would just stand there in front of my open locker, staring into its depths, miles and worlds and adventures away. And, as often as it drove my mother positively bonkers to have to wait and wait and wait for me (ie: daily) she never completely blew a gasket. Popped a couple of seams, maybe, but that was only fair. I wasn't a particularly comprehensible or accommodating child. I didn't mean to be an unmitigated pain in the ass, I just wasn't that self-aware, you see. As frustrating as it must have been, my mom put up with me.

But she never taught me punctuality.

Because that would have meant teaching me to put my daydreams away before I was done with them. I wasted a good deal of her time back then... and she let me. Because I think, somehow, she knew deep down that those daydreams might lead me somewhere. And by letting me follow them, even at the expense of her own patience and sanity on occasion, she taught me that it was okay to do that.

She taught me that my inconvenient daydreams were important.

It was the absolute best thing she could have taught me. And she had to sit there listening to an awful lot of talk radio for me to learn it. Sorry, Mom. And Thanks.

1 comment:

Maureen Lipinski said...

Inconvenient daydreams--I love that!