Long ago I made a point of no longer saying, “I told you so,” to my kids.
But I NEVER promised to stop making the I told you so face.
And I make it a lot.
Sometimes several times a day.
Occasionally, I just keep it there until the next needed time comes around to save my muscles the unnecessary exertion of popping them back into their default setting—which according to my kids rests somewhere between a scowl and the expression that suggests intestinal blockage.
Lately, I’ve been doing a little motherly worrying that I only have six months to go before one of my fledglings will fly the coop. Is six months time enough to impart those last bits of needed wisdom before I drop her and her bags off at the door of what every parent surely feels is the opening credits of Animal House?
After last week … I’m not so sure.
Yes, there are different definitions of intelligence—and for this I am extraordinarily grateful. Because measuring mine by what I’ve retained from my schoolroom days would send my past educators into a vortex of surround sound tutting so energetic it would be like sitting in the middle of a field full of judgmental crickets.
So, booksmart? … I ain’t so much none more.
Street smart? I’m fairly confident I’m making the honor roll. My daughter? Well, let’s just say she’s probably one or two notches above Elmo.
My daughter is a violinist. A very fine one. And she plays a fair amount of gigs, so she knows (with the occasional reminder from me) that instruments—like people—must have a maintenance schedule in order to achieve optimal results. Just before Christmas, she noticed one of her strings fraying badly and was about to play a three day running show. I swapped out the ready-to-snap bad string with an old spare, purchased her a set of new strings, and reminded her to bring her violin to the shop for its “annual.”
Amid a slew of, “Yes, yes, I’ll get to its,” I left it at that.
A couple of days ago she mentioned the headmaster of her school had asked that she play for an event he would be speaking at. Mentally calculating her holiday break activities, I could not recall her recounting a trip to the violin maker’s shop and raised an eyebrow at her.
“I’m fine. It’s fine. I’ll get to it.”
The night before curtain call, we were advised by our local newscasters to prepare for icy road conditions the next morning. In fact, we’d found all of the local public schools delaying a couple of hours to allow the frenetic worker bees to get to their stations ahead of the big lumbering school buses full of sleepy-eyed children. All schools, apart from my daughter’s.
As a freshly minted driver, I warned her that she must be prudent and give herself plenty of extra time to firstly, check road conditions before leaving, and secondly, drive slowly to be cautious of slick spots. Her mind was occupied with other things. Mainly, cramming for a calculus test the next morning.
“Did you hear me?” I asked.
“How was rehearsal today?”
(Insert a series of mumbles that folks studying the fundamental notions of convergence of infinite sequences will understand) and then, “My string snapped.”
“What? You mean you still haven’t taken your fiddle in?”
“I’ll play on my electric. I’m fine. It’s fine. I’ll get to it.”
Cue seven a.m. the next morning.
I was still ten blissful minutes away from my traditional sounding alarm clock, but rose to this one instead.
“Well??? How are the roads?” she asked.
Normally full of pithy remarks at the crack of dawn, I was surprised when nothing but a croaky, “Huh?” came from my throat.
“MOM! I HAVE TO LEAVE! I HAVE REHEARSAL BEFORE SCHOOL AND I’M ALREADY GOING TO BE LATE!”
This did not sit well with me and had me out of bed, searching for my bathrobe and pulling on my wellington boots. The perfect choice for getting a firm foothold on frozen water.
The first step out of the house was slick and shiny. A little farther out, the pebbled courtyard of the driveway would have been a disappointment to most ice skaters, but was still capable of flipping you onto your backside. The blacktop driveway, for the few tentative steps I took, appeared safe. Ish.
“Well??? How is the driveway?”
I watched my daughter lug her electric violin and an amp nearly as large as her Volkswagen beetle toward the trunk of the ice cube she was about to drive.
I shook my head and looked at the crusted over windscreen. “The first ten feet are super. I cannot account for the remainder of the mile.”
Knowing that the remainder of that mile was pitched at an ungodly angle downward and included at least three or four deadman’s curves, if it was covered in ice, I could imagine her car would no longer be a car but instead a fancy toboggan. I hoped she’d changed her mind. But apparently, she was a potential casualty whether she stayed home or went, as not turning up for the rehearsal was in essence a fate worse than death.
She left for school. I left for the shower and brought with me the prickly panic that would accompany me until I’d heard she made it safely into her parking space.
Fifty anxiety-ridden minutes later (as she forgot to text me when she first made it to school and went straight to rehearsal), and mere moments before I called the school to hunt her down, I received a thumbs up text and then left for an in town appointment myself. Halfway there I receive a second text that said:
Hey, Mom? R u coming into town this morning?
Me—at a stop sign: Already on my way.
Her: Turns out I left the cable that connects my violin to the amp at home.
There is no I told you so emoticon for texting, but somebody should make one. So I substituted: It’s fine. You’re fine. You’ll get to it.
Six more months and the roads are dicey.
It’s time to reveal January’s winner for the Gotta Have a Gott calendar! We hope you all voted, but if not, you’ll have another crack at it at the end of February (and all the months through November). For now, come see the past month’s winner.
Don’t forget to check out what we’re cookin’ in the Scullery and what we all talked about down in the pub. Plus, you can see more of Robin Gott‘s humor–all from the only pen carved from a human funny bone.