I took my preschoolers for a walk today with their two preschool friends.
That made for four little monsters losing shoes and coats as they meandered willy-nilly down the sidewalk.
I swear, if adults walked like preschoolers and toddlers, we’d be stopped by the coppers in a hot minute and given a sobriety test.
“Pardon me, ma’am, but have you been drinking?”
“Why, no, Officer! What makes you ask?”
“Well, you’re moving like your pants are intermittently on fire, your arm fell out of your coat, you just wiped your nose on your friend’s back, and you’re putting pea gravel in your shirt.”
“Oh. Thank you for your concern.”
That was four small people out a’walkin’.
And do you know where I was?
If you guessed right there on the sidewalk with them, you’d be wrong.
I mean, you’d be right that that’s where I should have been, since I was taking them for a walk and all.
But you’d be wrong in thinking that I was where I should have been.
Because I was in my car, driving in the street next to them.
You guys, what I did totally made sense.
See, I needed to pick a big kid up from school, but first I had to drop the littles off down the street at my cousin’s house for our semi-regular Tuesday afternoon kid-swap. At the last minute, the kidlets asked if they could walk there. And I thought, Who am I to discourage exercise? That would be unwise, I tell you, and I try very, very hard not to be unwise on purpose.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to walk them down the street, walk myself back, grab my car, and be on time for school pick-up. And we all know that being on time is of unusual importance to me these days. I mean, really, being late is no longer an option due to the extraordinary humiliation risk it presents.
So what’s a mama to do when faced with a need to be on time and a desire to uphold my kids’ exercise efforts? Why, what a mama always does, of course – problem solve!
I jumped in my car. I rolled down my window. I made sure I could see every kid. And then I rolled slowly down the street while I yelled things to the sidewalk like, “STAY TOGETHER!” And “Kate’s coat is NOT A KLEENEX.” And “NOBODY IS A WINNER. This is NOT A RACE.” And “Sorry about that winner thing, guys. YOU ARE ALL WINNERS!”
You know – the usual.
And I was incredibly grateful that I live on a very short, very quiet, very lightly populated street because getting caught taking kids for a walk from my car would’ve undone all the work I just did to prevent lateness humiliation.
That’s when I saw a woman walking her dog, headed in my direction. And, by “walking her dog” I do not mean that she was in her car watching her dog walk down the sidewalk. I mean, she was on her own two feet walking with her dog.
And then I prayed this prayer,
Please don’t let that woman be someone I know. Pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease.
And then I got close enough.
To recognize my kid’s physical education teacher.
And her dog.
Whom she was walking.
And I also got close enough for her to recognize me.
In my car.
Walking my kids.
P.S. “Toilet Paper On My Shoe” was the original title of this blog post because I got caught driving around town the other day with a llloooonnngggg piece of T.P. hanging out of my car door, not unlike coming out of a public restroom dragging T.P. on one’s shoe. Except more public. And all over town. I didn’t write that story, what with getting sidetracked by a different embarrassment altogether, but when I went to change the title of this post, I decided it’s rather perfect just the way it is. Ha!