After working a long call shift with absolutely no sleep, I was relieved to finally go home and meet up with my blanket and pillow. I was home so early that the kids were just getting ready. Little A was jumping around and excited that I was home: “Mommy! You’re home! Are you going to take me to the bus stop?”
I sat down with him to try and explain that mommy had been awake the whole time that he was sleeping. “I’m so tired honey, and I really need to go to sleep. Your bus doesn’t come for another 45 minutes and I can’t stay awake that much more.”
His disappointed voice trailed off as he jumped down from my lap and proceeded to dress himself. “Mommy, I just really wanted you to walk me to the bus stop. But it’s okay, I guess, because today we are going on a filed trip to the science centre!”
He had been talking about this field trip for the past week with so much excitement. It doesn’t matter that we have passes to the science centre and go fairly regularly, because this time he is going with his school friends. “That’s right, honey! You have a fun day today, okay!”
I got into my bed and promptly fell asleep. I awoke hours later and lolled through the list of emails on my phone. I was still not rested enough, but knew that if I didn’t wake up then, I wouldn’t get back to sleep later that night. There was one email that caught my attention – it was from A’s educational assistant. She only emails me when there is something she needs to tell me about issues at school:
“I wanted to email you and let you know that A. was not able to go on the field trip today because his permission form was not signed. He was very upset and I explained to him that there is other field trips coming up that he will be able to take part in. I stayed with him at school and once he was calmed and feeling better we joined the English kindergarten class and he had a good morning.”
I almost started to cry after reading this. I signed an “all encompassing field trip permission form” the week prior and sent it back to school. I remembered that on Friday they sent a revised form home because something had changed on one of the field trips in the future. That form sat on Twitter kitche counter all weekend and I forgot to sign it and send it back. Apparently the school tried to call me, but they claimed to not have a current phone number for me. I was so angry at the school, but I was more angry at myself.
Before I got out of bed I had visions of my poor little A. Crying at school and not understanding why everyone else was getting on the school bus to go to the science centre and he had to stay behind. I imagined his disappointment, his anger, his helplessness, and his resignation. I then started to cry.
I slowly got out of bed and opened my bedroom door. It didn’t take more than 10 seconds for little A. To come running into my bedroom: “Mommy, today was a horrible day at school, do you want to know why?” I let him tell me all about his sad day, even though I already knew about it. And, I quickly relived the pain I caused him over again.
I fear that these are the things in life that kids never forget. He doesn’t understand that it was my fault that the form wasn’t signed, but that doesn’t make it any better. He will always remember how it felt to stay behind when everyone else got to go.