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Signs Of Life

Columns by Pamela Majteles

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Posted by pam on January 14, 2011 at 10:52 pm

Originally published May 14, 2010

Reprinted with permission from Bay Area News Group – East Bay

Like all busy parents, I try hard to fit everything in each day.

So when my daughter’s teacher gives me five kids to drive on the school field trip, I gulp knowing my car can only fit four. “Oh no,” I respond, explaining my predicament.

The teacher has my number. She has seen my type before – someone who needs a little extra help with the math. “If we have two cars with seven seats each, one car with six seats and another car with four seats, how many seats do we have?” she quizzes me.

Rapidly running the numbers in my head, I come up with 24. Knowing that’s the same number of students we’re trying to transport, I’m certain I can figure this out. After a quick survey of the other parents driving, I find the one empty seat. Problem solved.

With growing kids, finding shoes that fit is another kind of problem. “My toes hurt,” complains my four-year-old son. I remove his shoes and try to put on a different pair. I push. I pull. I pant. Despite multiple attempts, none of his shoes seem to fit –it’s as if his feet have grown overnight. The only solution is to let his toes hang out. So even though it’s a crisp 50 degrees, I tell him what he is always dying to hear: “You can wear your sandals”.

Some days, it’s about fitting everything into the schedule, which is especially true after school when the commitments really stack up. On an average day, my schedule with three kids reads: 3:20 PM dentist appointment; 4:00 PM Hebrew school; 5:00 PM volleyball practice in Berkeley for one kid; 7:00 PM volleyball practice in Lafayette for another kid. Then I have to factor in pick-up times (the former are drop-off times), making dinner, homework help, and other daily chores.

Often, something unexpected comes along. “I have to bring homemade cookies to school tomorrow for a bake sale,” drops my daughter en route from the dentist appointment to volleyball practice. I furrow my brow, as I think about how to fit this into the schedule. I conclude that I can bake cookies some time between 9:00 PM volleyball pick-up and 5:30 AM wake-up the next morning when my alarm clock rings.

With all I attempt to fit in every day, I’m grateful when anyone tries to help. For instance, when I ask for a medium cup of coffee at Peet’s, I appreciate the barista’s question as she takes my commuter coffee cup: “Are you sure you don’t want a large coffee – I’m pretty sure it will fit in here?”

After staying up late to bake cookies the night before, I’m feeling tired. So I reply, “Yes, give me a large.”

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 License.

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