Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Worst Weekend Ever.

I know that choosing that title may not compel people to read this. It's not unlike being asked, "does this scab look infected?" or "wanna hear something gross?"

But I need to pick the scab of this past weekend, which, if you listened very closely, featured a very faint sucking sound as its accompaniment.

The short version:

My boys are going to Mexico with my ex-husband a week from today. Their passports arrived a month or two ago, and they were in my possession.

Last Thursday, I took the passports to the Social Security office to use as ID so I could order new cards for the kids. Connor needs his card for the job he's lined up this summer.

Somewhere between the Social Security office and home, the passports disappeared.

It didn't take me very long to notice they were nowhere.

And that's when the sucking sound started.

I had Friday off, so that's when the searching began. And the cleaning, and throwing, the retracing of steps, the taking a breath, the mild hysteria. My internal dialogue sounded like the patter between the Knights who say Nee.

Oh, and did I mention I haven't been feeling very well lately, waking up with the low energy, the coughing, the draining of fluids, that kind of thing?

I just had to color up the picture.

Friday night was an exacerbation of that pretty picture, and between coughing jags, I called into work.

Saturday, more searching, and finally, resignation that I'd been defeated.

I felt vindicated, to some degree, when I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts, The Parent Experiment (you can find a link at exploitingmybaby.com) while I was searching for passports on Saturday. The hosts of the podcast were discussing a Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post Magazine article, entitled Fatal Distraction. Here's the link.


The subject matter of the article and the podcast's discussion were both riveting. Both article and podcast spoke to how it's so easy to have chasms in memory when life gets distractingly busy.

Although the specific subject matter was heartbreaking, it made me feel just a bit less alone in my whirling, chaotic attempt to flail through life as a single mom with two teenagers, one on the cusp of driving, the other going to a camp over the summer that requires a mountain of money and paperwork. And it's the end of the school year. Everything spins faster the last few weeks of school.

Then there's a house and a monster lawn to maintain. There's a job to attend, writing to do. There's my cottage industry that requires thrifting, listing, selling, packing.

Little crispy bits of each obligation occupy a section of my brain. And in the midst of making almost perpetual mental lists to determine which responsibility takes the most pressing priority, I try to nurture, listen, react, attend to the people I love.

Some people do these things so elegantly.

The passport debacle proves I don't.

But on Sunday, I kicked into Solution Gear.

And there was a solution, to the tune of $305. The new passports will be ready in two days. I envision elves akin to little cobblers who make those shoes in fables currently busy fashioning my kids' new passports.

But now I'll be forever known as the one who lost the passports. The forgetful one. The one who, if you give her something to keep fast in her possession, is unpredictable. You may see your valuable thing again, maybe you won't.

I don't care.

I'm just glad it's over. I'm hoping that, a week from now, my kids will be working on their tans and not being sold into Mexican slavery - or worse.

I'm a mom. I worry.

So we put this whole passport crapfest behind us.

Thank god no one died.

The only casualty was my sense of security about my ability to keep some things safe.

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