Cripes, I’m exhausted.
The school run was a hair-raising slip-sliding second-gear-all-the-way affair with patches of black ice waiting to take the road from under me.
At the same time it was stunningly beautiful.
Small Girl goes to a pet-farm/ preschool set at the top of a hill with an incredible view out towards the Cork and Kerry mountains and back towards the city. This morning we could see snow on the distant mountains but the Lee valley was under a sheet of freezing fog.
The sun was just above the horizon, the sky was pink and steam was rising from the fields and flooded ditches. It was enough to make your heart sing, if you weren’t already having palpitations over the black ice.
By the time I got home, I was sufficiently energised by the beauty of it all to determine that a brisk walk down by the river would do me a power of good.
I loaded the dishwasher, wiped weetabix off the table, turned on the washing machine, locked the back door (that’s the Charlie’s signal to go demented with impatience), changed into my sturdy walking shoes, wrapped my home-made scarf four times around my neck (it’s BIG), decided against my own reasonably stylish jacket and opted instead for Husband’s mucky but cosy gardening jacket, similarly opted for Husband’s ancient, mucky but cosy, fleecy hat.
I went through the usual routine of pointlessly trying to calm the dog while I put his lead on and off I went,
Oh, no, not quite, I ran upstairs to find a pair of gloves, ran back down to the dog who was, by now, trying to dig a tunnel under the front door, picked up his lead, and left.
Now, I ask you, what’s missing?
I bet you guessed straight away.
I bet you saw it coming three long-winded paragraphs ago.
Because you have a fully functioning brain.
And I do not. Sob.
The very instant that the door clicked shut, my brain re-engaged and hesitantly enquired, ‘keys?’
I had the gloves in my hand where I usually would have had my keys. Simple and stupid as that.
Such are the tiny mistakes that huge dramas are built upon.
I stood with my back to the front door and muttered a few choice expletives. Then I turned around to face the front door and muttered quite a few more.
A long day of locked possibilities stretched ahead of me.
My first thought was that it would be a ruddy long walk back up that hill to the Small Girl’s preschool and that I would probably need to start marching straight away if I was going to take that route.
Then I remembered that there is one (and only one, it seems) sensible and reliable soul in this scatty family of mine. Teenage Daughter always remembers her key. She doesn’t need to because I am always at home to let her in but, nevertheless, she always remembers her key.
Okay, drama averted, I hoped, but not embarrassment.
The dog and I walked in shame, up the hill, to Teenage Daughter’s very strict and very proper convent school. I tied the dog to a bench under a statue of the Virgin Mary ( who I swear was tut-tutting at my slovenly attire, my idiocy in general and the dog in particular) and made my way, sweaty and red-faced, to the office.
Four prim secretaries looked me up and down for just a beat too long before one asked how she could help me.
‘I’m here in need of rescue’, I declared and explained my predicament, my tone wavering between jovial self-deprecation and genuine despair.
‘Do you know your daughter’s home room number?’
‘Errr, 5?’, I guessed with no face left to lose at this point.
‘Nope’, she answered and I worried that this was a quiz and I wouldn’t be permitted to leave until I answered correctly.
The dog, meanwhile, had started to howl in anguish under Mary’s watch. I gesticulated vaguely in his direction and the secretary took pity and assured me that Teenage Daughter would be found.
I sat on the bench and prayed (okay, I don’t really pray any more so much as hope with a desperate edge to it) that this wouldn’t be the one day that Teenage Daughter would forget her key.
Of course it wasn’t. My beautiful, tall, daughter emerged gracefully through the school doors. This was so clearly her territory. Her hair was pulled back into a bun and her blue uniform was pristine ( I should know, I ironed it myself). She laughed at the state of me. I would say she laughed, kindly, as she held out a key to me,
I have crossed the line from care-giver to liability.
My name is Lynda and I am an idiot. Is there a meeting or something for that?
PS. I’ve spent some time adding a plethora of ‘share’ and ‘follow’ buttons around my home page to make it easier for you to spread news of my idiocy far and wide across social media and the like…please, fire away!