On Friday I was in a state.
Payton had forgotten her lunch at home.
This we realized as I dropped her off at school. The bell had just rung, and there was no time to turn around and get her lunch- I was due to be at work in ten minutes.
"Go home with Gage," I told her, and instructed Gage (13) firmly to pick his sister up at her locker and take her home for lunch.
This didn't exactly sit right with me, but I had virtually no other choice.
I felt uneasy pulling away, although I always do, for some reason, as I watch Payton struggle with her back pack to the doors.
I phoned home at lunch time to be sure that they had made it okay.
Gage answered on the first ring.
"Oh, you're home!" I said with relief. "Can I talk to Payton?"
"Payton --didn't come home with me?" he said, like he was asking a question.
"Well, she wasn't by her lockers when I went there, and she wasn't in the lunch room."
I slammed down the phone, feeling a little ill, and phoned the school, in a panic.
"Oh, yeah," the secretary said. "Payton's here. The teacher took her for lunch since she didn't have anything to eat."
OK. That's good news, I suppose.
I mean, certainly it's better than what I had been thinking- that she had been lured away by that dodgy guy with the combover that lives across from me that wears heavy industrial coveralls when he mows his lawn- even in the summer. Now I don't know if wearing coveralls in the summer makes you a pedophile for sure, but it definitely makes you suspect in my books.
Anyways, I was relieved for a second.
But then I started to panic again. It's just that, and I hope don't sound too insecure when I say this, but it kind of makes me feel like a bad parent when the teachers take my kids home with them on their lunch break, like their the "special project" and they all discuss her at the meetings and decide that "with a little bit of TLC this kid might have some potential" Perhaps someone even says "to try to mitigate the harmful home environment" or something like that and they all exchange knowing glances and say "Has anyone actually seen that mother? She's, like, never here. I'm beginning to think there's no mother at all in this equation, which might explain the way that kid dresses sometimes."
Which- I know isn't always appropriate, but is it MY fault that she has such strong ideas about wearing miniskirts and flouncy dresses in the middle of winter with tons of accessories and eye shadow and lip gloss.
She looks adorable, what am I gonna do??
I swear she'll be a fashion designer someday and then I'll tell THEM miss haughty school people, that her upbringing was JUST FINE, thank you very much.
I mean, unless she's one of those fashion designers that's bulimic or on crack or whatever.
Then I'll just keep my mouth shut, let bygones be bygones. You know, to be the bigger person.
Anyways was at work, and I was in a state.
My coworker was able to calm me down.
"Randine," she said. "It could always be worse."
And immediately I calmed down.
What was I freaking out about?
That my daughter is part of a community that cares about her?
I mean, it could be worse.
A lot worse.
I just have to watch the news to find that out for sure.
Or look at across the street at my sketchy coverall wearing neighbor.
That's all for now.
Have a good day.