I had been at work for less than thirty minutes when the school called.
This can’t be good, I thought.
I had put Philip on the bus just an hour before. What could have gone wrong in such a short period of time? I wondered.
Philip was okay, his teacher reported, but she had forgotten to call me last week to let me know she had run out of pull-ups. When Philip came home before his Thanksgiving break wearing a brand of diaper I didn’t recognize, I suspected as much. However, I decided not to drop any off this morning. There’ll probably be a note requesting more in his backpack today, I assured myself.
I was already late for work. My husband, the usual stay-at-home parent, had been called onto a temp job. The hours meant he couldn’t put Philip on or get Philip off the bus today. Today, I was in charge.
Now I found myself with a dilemma. I had pull-ups but that meant driving home, driving to the school and then driving back to work. That would take two hours. I’d be at work for a few hours before having to leave early to meet the school bus. I would spend more time in the car getting to and from work (twice) than I would actually at work.
Fortunately, my boss is also a mother. She understood and let me take the rest of the day off.
Suddenly, I was faced with a partial vacation day and no plans. I considered my options: take a nap, read a book, run errands, watch TV, nap, clean the house, go for a hike, or have an adventure.
I thought back to the days when I would visit Philip at preschool. Once he entered kindergarten, I had no opportunity to observe him at school. I missed having insights into how he spent his day. I have to rely on the adults who work with him to report this to me.
I knew how I was going to spend my day off.
I drove home, changed my clothes and grabbed the pull-ups. When I reported to the office, I asked permission to stay. I signed in and slapped on my visitor’s badge.
I was nervous about how Philip would react. Will I be a distraction?
I walked in as he and his classmates were eating a snack. Philip didn’t give me a second glance as he munched on his Cheez-its. The other students were a different story.
“Are you Philip’s mom?” Dominic asked.
“That’s cool!” Dominic replied.
That was a nice welcome.
Josef interrogated me instead of eating his strawberry yogurt. What’s your name? What are you doing? Are you going home? How long will you stay? Where’s Philip’s dad? Are you taking Philip home? Why not? Are you going to ride the bus? Why not?
After snack it was reading time. Then came lunch when Philip took the only food I had on me, an apple. Next was the chaos of recess, full of running kids, tattling kids (not Philip), time outs (not Philip), and general noise (partially Philip). We returned inside to music class which was interrupted by a lock down drill. Math was next followed by adaptive PE and then it was time to go home.
My only regret was not taking my camera with me. And maybe staying and participating in PE when I could have snuck in a nap. No, I don’t even regret that. I got some exercise and watched Philip have fun chasing a hula hoop. Plus, I saw the end-of-day routine for myself.
As I type this, I’m waiting for Philip to crash just like I want to. It was a full day for both of us. I’ll have to go back to work tomorrow to relax.
The penultimate day!