Katie was absent from school yesterday. When I called the school secretary to let her know, she asked, so kindly, “Is she sick?”
“Um, no. Not sick. No.” Then there was this awkward pause, and after a moment I knew it was up to me to fill in the blanks.
“See, what happened is that this morning I had to get up super early and drive my husband into Post Falls in the snow (without my snow tires, since I waited too long to get them put on; I don’t know what I was thinking) because he’s doing some training for work all this week in Spokane and is carpooling with his friend, Jesse, and then after I dropped him off it was way too early to bring Katie to school, so we went back home and I decided to use the little bit of time we had left before we needed to leave to finish up a favor I had promised to a friend, because I just knew that I wouldn’t be home for the rest of the day and it really needed to be done this morning. But by the time I got the favor done, we were running like ten minutes late and I bundled everyone back up in mittens and coats and boots and got them into the car and then I was trying to hurry but trying to drive carefully (because our car is like a big ice skate without studs on it) and then we finally got there and I got both kids in their giant puffy coats out of the car and was dragging them through the snow on my way to check Katie in late at the school office when I realized she didn’t have her backpack with her lunch and her homework and everything in it. So I asked her, ‘Where’s your backpack?’ and when she realized she’d left it at home and took one look at my face, she burst into tears and I couldn’t get her to calm down, and at first I thought I’d drop her off anyway and go back to get the backpack at home and drive back to school and bring it in to her, but I called Wal-mart early this morning when I was dropping Paul off and their line for snow tires was already backed up four hours before they even opened and I knew if I didn’t go straight there, I’d never get in line in time for them to get done before I needed to come back and pick up Katie this afternoon and then she’d be standing in front of the school crying because I didn’t show up, so I just told her to get back in the car and now we’re on our way to get snow tires and I have to come up with entertainment for two kids for (at least) four hours at Wal-mart when what I really want to do is sit down somewhere and cry. So the reason for her absence is chaos. Utter chaos.”
The secretary, blessed woman, who I can imagine blinking once or twice under the onslaught of such a deranged outburst, simply smiled into the phone and said, “I’ll just mark her down as excused.”