By 7:50am this morning I found myself in a shocking, if not precarious state : Home Alone.
Shocking because it’s been about 6 months since I’ve been home alone, and precarious because mothers like me who find themselves home alone stand on the precipice of many things. Laundry? Clean my room? Take a Shower? Clear Off the Breakfast Dishes? Nap? Wash the Floors? Do the Dishes?
As you well know, Checking My FaceBook won out. In my defense, I only had about 45 minutes to myself, and let’s be honest, how much of that other stuff could I have really gotten done? C’mon now.
About 20 minutes into my small yet wonderful reprieve, the phone rang. Those of you who know me from R know that it isn’t much for me to get excited about, and rarely, RARELY will I answer it. But, the stars were aligned and I picked up.
The first words were the words you never want to hear, “I’m calling from AY Boys’ school…”
Rewind to this morning: 1st grader “S” has his “tiyul shnati” today. Each class goes on a big class trip to somewhere in Israel, and today, S is going to Nachal Lachish near Ashdod, on a hike and to visit some sand dunes. If you are a 6 year old boy, or a 60 year old boy, this trip rates. It is fun, and muchly anticipated. We’ve been talking about it at home for a few days now (the big joke being that he is going to a street in RBS).
S came down this morning excited and with butterflies in his stomach. He had on socks and crocs, and I gently told him a few times to put his sneakers on (“GET YOUR SNEAKERS ON NOW! HOW MANY MORE TIMES DO I HAVE TO SAY IT?!). Well, push came to shove and I saw no reason to further push it, so off he went with his obligatory water bottle, hat, siddur and TWO lunches.
Until The Phone Call…
“I’m calling from AY boys’ school, and your son does not have “closed shoes”. He can’t go on the trip without them.”
“When are they leaving?!”
“Right now. They are getting on the buses, you have 5 minutes to get up here.”
Panic sets in. I have no car, and the school is a 20-25 minute walk uphill. I grabbed my phone, bag, and the shoes and ran outside, calling a taxi as I went. BOTH taxi numbers were NOT ANSWERING. This happens, but only about once every 3 months or so. I called BAW, who was up at the merkaz with N, and he went to grab at taxi at the taxi depot up there, only to call me back and tell me there were none.
In my motherly panic, I start knocking on the car windows of the startled mothers who are bringing their kids to the daycare a few doors down, begging for a ride up. No one is going that way. I call my FIL who is often in the area and just this morning he happens to be in BS, a good 15 minutes away.
By now I am a wreck. It’s been 7 or 8 minutes, and all I see in my mind is S standing forlornly by the side of the road while the tour bus pulls out with 74 other happy first graders. I start running up the meridian of my busy street, all the while clutching his sneakers to my chest and looking over my shoulder to see if any taxis are coming that I can grab.
It’s 8am and I am sweating and crying and davening out loud. I cannot imagine what a lunatic I must’ve looked like running up the middle of the road crying and mumbling, looking desperately over my shoulder. At least if someone would have called the cops (“Um, there is a very confused looking woman wandering up the middle of the street.”) they could've given me a ride.
At about the 10 minute mark, when I am almost at the top of my hill (what exactly was I going to do then, anyway?) BAW calls me. He has managed to grab a taxi and has stuffed N and his stroller inside, and is on his way to get me. I find them, hop in, and realize that we have somehow managed to get inside Israel’s only slow moving taxi.
At about the 18 minute mark (in my mind, the other first graders are happily frolicking in the river, and rolling down the sand dune) we pull up in front of the school, where we (thank G-d!) can see the tour bus. BAW literally dumps N on the sidewalk, throws $ at the cabbie (who by the way charged us double the regular rate, probably realizing what state we were in), and leaves me to fend for N who is running into the street, and the stroller that just will not come out of the trunk.
BAW runs to the bus, which strangely is not even running. There are no children on, around or near the bus. Again, I figure that the first grade bus must have left, and S must be upstairs waiting for us in the office, crushed. BAW runs up the stairs, while I wrestle yelling N into the stroller. BAW returns 5 minutes later: VICTORY! carrying Crocs, and no sneakers!
The story does not end here, even if for us it was over. As with all things in Israel, one thing I’ve realized is that there is always someone worse off than you.
When BAW got to the building, not only were they not ready, but they were having recess, not even remotely ready to go. The gates were locked, and the guard was nowhere to be found. Don’t even get me started on this. This happens often. For security measures, most schools here are gated, locked after school starts. AND, most guards are usually off getting coffee, shooting the breeze, etc., and your children cannot get out (which is how I like it, unless there is some kind of emergency) and you cannot get in. Luckily, BAW saw S inside, and beckoned him over and tossed him his shoes.
For us, it ends here. But not for the mother who had come to drop off her son this morning, and was now locked INSIDE the building, and needing to get out to go get her kid’s sneakers! We thought we were panicked, imagine how she was feeling. And boy was she not a happy camper…
All’s well that ends well, I guess. Both BAW and I were shaking after that. We walked back down, crying and laughing at the same time, when two things dawned on us: 1) there was never ANY mention of sneakers in the note about the trip, and 2) I couldn't remember if I had even CLOSED the door behind me when I ran out this morning. Throwing caution to the wind, we stopped and treated ourselves to bagels and coffee for breakfast.
Another day in the life, just trying to survive.
Well, like my FIL said, at least it makes for good material.