Oh Saint of Perfect Memories, why have you forsaken me?
Today was the final day of finals for my high schooler, the final day for my middle schooler and the final walk to school and celebration parade out of school for my elementary schooler.
The plan was to get up early and make my kids all of their favorites: hash browns, chocolate chip pancakes, and scrambled eggs. Then run to the store to pick up the teacher gift and back to school for a class pic and watch the 5th graders walk out for the last time ever. Then a family lunch sans youngest because he had to go to a birthday party.
I’m not an early riser so I set the alarm for 6:30 so I could take a quick shower before commencing on the best last day breakfast ever. I’ve had to shower in my middle son’s shower for the past week because we are retiling ours. I snuck into his room, careful not to wake him so he could enjoy his slumber until breakfast was ready. I kept my eyes forward so I wouldn’t get worked up by the disgusto that lay on either side of my path because I was determined I was going to make this last day special. No nagging today!
Breakfast prep began with quickly cooking the frozen hash browns. First “not as planned” event: said hash browns proceeded to stick to the bottom of the pan regardless of the obnoxious amount of coconut oil I had poured in. Screw it. I scraped the hash browns onto the sheet pan and put them in the oven on broil. They’ll be done in just a couple of minutes, I thought.
So I moved onto the pancakes, using banana, egg, protein powder and chocolate chips. Second “not as planned” event: pancakes were like cardboard because I didn’t use the right ratio of ingredients. Plus, I should have just used the Power Protein mix I had in the pantry and made it easy. “No, they’ll love the pancakes I made for myself the other day”, I said. I ended up using the pancake mix halfway through but by this time it was 7:25. They were going to be downstairs any minute!
I checked on the hash browns and WTF, they were basically still white as they were when they came out of the package. Only the fringe had a touch of golden and the rack was at the highest level. Yep, the third “not as planned” event.
Youngest son descends in the same dress shorts that he wore the day before as well as a too small shirt. The no nag rule ended at this exact moment. He was supposed to have his clothes laid out the night before but he must have heard “Just pick up whatever is laying around.” So off he went to change, grumbling and stomping the entire way. Did I fail to mention that he complained about my “last day of school” music playlist? Well, that falls into the “not as planned” event list as well so let’s say that one is number five.
I hear my two sons pass on the stairs and I still needed to make the eggs! Thank God the hash browns would be ready to start on at least. A quick check revealed still a no go. He walks in and also complains about the music selection. It was our fricking mountain music playlist! They love this stuff. I clenched my teeth and asked what would he like to listen to. “Coldplay,” he said, which was on my Mountain Music playlist but we just hadn’t gotten there yet. I didn’t have time to mess with explaining what patience was because I was quickly running out of my own. Back to the eggs I went and proceeded to whip these up in a minute flat but then spilled 1/4 of them onto the floor in my haste to get the child his best last day breakfast ever.
The hash browns were semi-ready but the middle child likes his extra crispy so I had to scoop the well done ones from the edges. He proceeded to shovel down what he could and his father whisked him off to school which I’m sure he arrived late. Oldest child came down and said she didn’t have time to eat and that she would eat when she got home. So I spent most of my prep time trying to fix the pancake batter wasn’t time well spent. I managed to get some extra time to while the youngest made multiple trips upstairs to get his “your last walk out of school I want a good picture outfit”. He came downstairs ready to eat so I got him some finally done hash browns and one of the first couple of pancakes because the new pancakes were still being worked on.
They were two rubbery he said and stated that he wasn’t really hungry after all. I was walking with him to school with his normal walking buddies and their moms and, of course, I missed the group photo because I was putting our dog back inside after I realized another mom brought her male dog. That would have been a walk to forget, not remember. I don’t even know what number “not as planned’ event this is by now.
We almost made it to the school but the dog got excited and the boy walking him got tripped up, skinning the heck out of his knee. I’m sure that went on his mom’s “not as planned” event list. We got to the school, hurt boy and his mom got a ride home from his dad who met them up at the school parking lot so he could go home and clean up his wound. The other mom rode home with them so she could get to work earlier than she expected so now I’m by myself trying to catch up to my son and his friends. I get sidetracked by his P.E. teacher who I love. I run to catch up with the boys and I yell at my son to wait up. He doesn’t. As he turns to go into the doors, I yell again. “I want to take a video of you walking in for the last time…hang on!”
He turns and looks at me with utter dismay. “MOM! The doors are closing! I need to go in!” Perhaps we’ve raced to beat those closing doors a few too many times. I wanted to say, ‘Of all days, buddy, this is the least of them to worry about! Who gives a
shit rip if you are late?! What’s one more tardy on the mile long list?” But I knew if I insisted he reenact the final walk-in, it was going to be horrible memory material so I said f*ck it under my breath and said, “See you after school. Thanks for the memory,” because I’m a great mom like that. I’m not proud of that one.
I proceeded to walk home by myself and when I arrived home, my tile guy asked if I had left something on the stove. I was busy outside talking to the other tile guy and said “No, sometimes when I cook pancakes the house gets smoky.” Ten minutes later I go in and sure enough, something was burning. Those hash browns that would never get crispy? Well, they were crispy now. I’m now a bit worried that our smoke alarms aren’t working properly because they had every reason to be going off. Best breakfast ever.
I managed to get two teacher gifts and a birthday gift before heading to the school to get a 5th grade class picture that was happening before the celebratory last walkout. I walk in and the picture is over with kids heading back to their classrooms to get organized. I found another mom who sent me the pic. Fine. At this point, I’m like whatever. I see my child to give him the gift to give to his teacher and he says, “I gotta go!” and runs off down the hall. I end up following him and give this teacher the gift myself. I manage to cry as I hug her and thank her for making his fifth grade year one of the best he’s had and for helping prepare him for middle school.
I scoot out to the front sidewalk to find a spot to get the best pic. My husband arrives in the nick of time…and so does the rain. Big fat ass rain drops start to fall just as the doors fill with the first class of fifth graders. My son is one of the first out the door and while in the years past we linger to take pictures with all of their friends and hug/cry with the other moms, this time it’s a “Where’s the car?!” Seriously? That’s it? My video of him was four seconds long. At that point, the rest of the parents who were waiting to get a picture of their child closed the walkway as they all tried to escape the deluge of rain coming down. To say it was a cluster was an understatement. We couldn’t find one friend nor the other teacher who we were giving a gift to which was now a bit wet. We fought the crowd like salmon to get inside only to find out the teacher we were looking for was doing car line duty. W…T…F was going on with this day?
My youngest was going to a birthday post last day of school walk out so I said goodbye to my husband, who I apologized to because I had guilted him into coming to the worst last day of school exit I had ever seen. Did I mention that by this time the rain had stopped? So basically a cloud decided to unleash at the exact moment I was going to take the most epic of all “last time” videos and then turned it off when it no longer mattered.
At this point, all I could do was laugh because I should’ve expected this. The more you want things to be this picture perfect moments that will be sealed in our memory banks forever (because they had for the other two kids, why wouldn’t they now?), the more they go the other way. As moms, we want our kids to have these incredible memories of these last of their lasts moments but really, I think it’s more for us. We want to seal them in a bottle to pull them out again and again as our kids become no longer kids.
Today was perfectly imperfect and the “not as planned” events are still memories. “Hey Mom, remember when you made those rubber pancakes on the last day of school and we got soaked when we walked out of school? Wasn’t that hilarious?”
“Yep,” I’ll reply, “Hilarious.”