So, the other day, I messed up.
Hubby was out of town overnight, so I was parent-on-point. I looked at the calendar. Only one Saturday morning activity? No problem, I thought. I got this.
Well, it turns out that I didn’t “got this.” Our son was scheduled to play his first game with a new lacrosse group. And, he was clearly excited. He jumped out of bed on his own. Got dressed quickly. Ate breakfast without dawdling so we could be on time.
He was on point. But, his mama? I was already 2 hours late and didn’t even know it.
Yep. We showed up when the game was ending.
I felt horrible. And, the Mama Guilt took over. I know: In the grand scheme of things, this was minor. In no way can this compare to Cat5 hurricanes and mad kings threatening war.
But, in my day-to-day life, calendar road bumps are a pretty big deal.
We have a lot of calendars—9, to be exact, during the current season of our lives as a healthy, active family. It’s not unusual for me to play Calendar Scramble … use mom magic to schedule all things life. And, when it all works out, I feel a sense of satisfaction. But, calendar road bumps? Well, they stretch and grow me in the Flexibility Department.
So, when we arrived and saw boys the size of our son already playing on the field, my heart dropped. My eyes clearly saw what I didn’t want my brain to believe. And, I heard our son say, “Hey, I think that’s my team ….”
Starting to feel a twinge of panic, I countered, “Nah. That’s gotta be the team scheduled to play before you guys.”
But he was resolute. “Nope. I see my teammates, Mom.” And, he was right.
His team was deep in play. And, as if right on cue, the coach blew the whistle to signal end of game.
My stomach did a cartwheel.
“Hold right here, son,” I said in my mom-is-still-in-command voice. “I’ll check it out.”
I sidled up to a parent who confirmed that, yes, we missed our game. I’m sure my face was red with embarrassment. The parent kindly offered, “I get it. Sometimes, we can barely keep up with all our schedules, too!” I smiled weakly, thanked him and trudged over to the coach to apologize. He, too, reassured me all was okay.
But, Mama Guilt was already weighing me down, my feet feeling heavy as lead as I walked back to the minivan. Our son was peeling out of his gear, head down.
The apologies gushed out of me like Niagara Falls.
I tend to over-apologize anyway. It’s the recovering-perfectionist-people-pleaser in me who feels awful when I make a mistake, assuming I’ve let others down. And this was one of those moments. I’d somehow blundered our schedule, creating a calendar road bump—and our son missed his first game.
My Mama-Guilt-Apologies were on a roll as we began exiting the parking lot. When I finally paused to take a breath, our son calmly said, “Mom, it’s okay. The season’s just getting started. We have a LOT more games to play.”
I sighed loudly, shaking my head in protest, still lingering in Guilt Land. Touching my arm, he insisted, “Hey, Mom? Just do what you tell me to do–let it go.”
I literally hit the brakes.
One moment, I’m pulling out of the parking lot, wrestling with my own imperfection over a schedule slip-up. And the next moment, I’m feeling lighter as this child’s words lifted a heavy weight off my shoulders.
It was a lovely moment of reciprocity. He was giving back to me what I often give him: A loving reminder to shed the perfectionism and people pleasing. And to pour grace on myself as liberally and quickly as I do for others.
Not shabby, for an 11-year-old lacrosse player.
Your Turn: How do you handle calendar road bumps?