Friday, May 9, 2008

Why Big Families Tend To Be Late!

I never used to understand why large families seemed to always be late. Why didn’t they just aim for an earlier time as a cushion for little set-backs? How could they be so inconsiderate of other people’s time? Why were we just supposed to be patient and “understanding”?

Before I had my fourth child, I tended to be fifteen minutes early for everything. Now, we average two minutes late for Sunday Mass and mandatory school meetings, and a half-hour late for parties and family get-togethers. Why might this be?

Let us take the typical after-school activity. I have done all I could to make the evening flow smoothly. I have dinner on the table at 4:00; I have worked out with my husband when and where he is going to meet up with us so my children can be at different places at once; I have all the uniforms freshly laundered and laid out; the checks and order forms for team pictures have been prepared ahead of time. Yet we cannot seem to make it out the door and down the street on time.

This is a 62-minute play-by-play of my children getting ready to go to their ball games.

5:00 I warn the children we are leaving in 20 minutes. I get the baby ready and make sure everything we need is in the car.

5:20 I announce: Time to go! All three older kids still need to use the bathroom and put on their shoes.

5:22 My son runs out to the shed to get his baseball bag, which is already in the car.

5:24 The phone rings. It is the classmate of my almost-eleven-year-old. I tell her we are on our way out. Is it a homework-related emergency? Yes, she says. My daughter picks up. It turns out she just wanted to know what my daughter had written in her journal entry for tomorrow. I am quite annoyed.

5:26 Everyone is in the car. I back out and drive halfway down the street. In the rearview mirror, I notice my eldest does not have her softball hat. I turn around.

5:27 We dash through the house, looking for the hat. I remember she was not wearing it during the last inning last night, and probably left it on the field.

5:28 We are driving again.

5:32 We arrive at the field for Minors softball pictures. The coach has the hat. My eleven-year-old has been asked to fill in during a Majors game at 6:00. My nine-year-old wants to watch. I have already asked another trusted parent to keep them until my husband can get there.

5:37 I drive my son and toddler away from the field and realize I have left my pocketbook at home. I need my cell phone to keep in touch with my daughters and husband. We drive back home.

5:41 I pull into the driveway, run in, lock up, and run back out.

5:42 We are back on the road. I take back roads to avoid rush hour traffic but we still are late. I had already let the coach know we would be a few minutes late.

6:02 We arrive at my son’s baseball game. They are just getting started and he runs to join them.

Phew! Everybody has been gotten safely to their locations and I am just a little hot and bothered by my children’s inability to be ready on time. The evening goes smoothly from here.

Did you follow all that? THIS is why families with several children tend to always be a few minutes late!

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