“Bagels and Babes” is a special time at my kids’ school, where they invite the mothers to come out and bring all their children for a breakfast of…wait for it….bagels for the babes (babies, kids, short people). I, ever the wanting-to-spend-time-bonding-with-her-kids-type mother, decided that this year, we would indeed attend.
I’ve never been very good at estimating arrival times. I always give myself way too much time to get there and then drive like a bat-out-of-hell, only to arrive 45 minutes early. This morning, I did better. I was only a half an hour early. Hey, it’s a step in the right direction.
So, when we pulled up in our van that desperately needs a new furnace and some shocks, we were all a little beat up and ready to snack. Unfortunately, we were the only ones in the parking lot and the only snack I had in the car was a half-eaten Snickers bar with fuzz stuck to it. This surprised me. Not because it was gross or the only thing in the car to eat. By why in the world would anyone only eat half a Snickers bar? That’s just insane.
I had Mollie, my oldest, run into the school to see if we were allowed in yet. We were. So I bundled up my nerves, grabbed my purse, and headed for the school gym, which would double that morning as the cafeteria.
We were, in fact, the first people there. Well, the first people not setting up, there. The woman behind the breakfast table waved a hearty hello and shouted something to me that seemed pleasant. She could have been saying, “You guys sure are too fat to be arriving so early for food. Can’t you starve a little and give the hungry kids of the world something to chew on for once,” and I wouldn’t have known the difference.
I gave my usual, “Hi! Do you need any help,” only to be answered. Now, why did I ask a question when I knew I wouldn’t know what in the world the answer was? It is a terrible habit I have. Perhaps it’s just me wanting to feel the vibrations of my own vocal cords. I talk quite a lot, actually. I talk to fill up the air, knowing that I sound like some poor, dying animal on the side of the road. But poor, dying animal sounds is better than nothing, right? I think that may be debatable.
Thankfully, she shook her head as she answered. Even though I realized the answer was no, I did happen to glance at my 10-year-old, Natalie, who, by the way, is the second most fluent signer in the house (behind me, of course), and she interpreted that the woman had been there for 20 minutes and was all set up. Hmmm. If only I would have driven a little faster and met my usual 45 minutes-early time pattern, I could have lent a hand. Alas, all I could lend was my mouth and my stomach at this point.
After a couple of minutes of very awkward silence…well, awkward for the woman (everything is silent to me)…I decided to start digging into the donut holes on the far right of the table and a glass of hot chocolate, located in the middle.
I was so involved in decided which hole would be the least caloric with the most taste, that I failed to realize that more people had accumulated in the gym for the festivities. So, when I grabbed the two holes I’d decided on, I moved directly back toward the middle of the table to pick up a glass of hot cocoa. Unfortunately, someone else had already picked up theirs, so, when I moved to the left, not looking at where I was going, I hit the woman on her arm and it sent the hot beverage flying.
“Oh, my gosh! I am SO sorry!! I didn’t even realize you were there,” I spat out as I observed where the glass and its contents were going to land. Thankfully, it wasn’t on another person. What’s a wet wall at 7 AM, anyway? All was OK—Except the fact that the woman, who had politely smiled off the collision, had decided to start a conversation with me. She began by introducing herself. I think. Her name was Felicity or Barbara or Veronica. Maybe it was Diandra. Could have been supercalifragiliciousexpialadocious for all I knew. But, because I had absent-mindedly left my paper and pen in the van, I smiled and introduced myself and shook her hand.
She talked and laughed. I laughed and smiled. She talked some more. I nodded. She jabbered on as she started to eat her bagel, which was smothered in cream cheese. (I know this because she ate and talked at the same time.) I smiled and tried not to gag at the grossness. I quickly looked around the gym for one of my three children. Perhaps they could give me an excuse to get away from this bevy of crumbs and saliva and confusion. Nope. They were all busy with their own friends. So, I did what any other person would do in this situation: I created a new child. A fictitious child. A child who was always in trouble and was making a ruckus waaaaaaay on the other end of the gym.
“Sorry, but I have to go. Bartholomew is always making a fuss. I need to make sure he hasn’t maimed or killed anyone yet. It was nice to meet you.” I went to leave and the woman with her mouth full spat a few crumbs at me as a goodbye and went about making small talk with another poor victim.
After that…er…situation…I decided that maybe I should eat my holes and drink my chocolate and just sit somewhere. I did so. I acted like I was totally engrossed in the origami book my son has asked me to hold. I’d never found a paper crane so interesting! When I was done with my food and realized that my kids didn’t even know I was there anymore, I went about getting ready to leave. After all, a mother was about to give a presentation on the importance of including your children in your every day activities. Definitely not something I wanted to sit through in silence.
I left. I left knowing that, even though they didn’t give me the time of day, I’m sure my kids appreciated my effort to spend a little extra time with them. I left knowing that I had done my job and shown my children a little extra love. I left knowing that some people just haven’t a clue about the proper eating habits of not talking with your mouth full!!!!! …Ahem…. And I left knowing that I had a half-eaten Snickers bar in my car if I crashed in the snow on the way home.