Being an awesome parent can sometimes come at a price, but Tracey says it’s totally worth it.
The day before their big excursion to Kenilworth to play in the park and have a picnic, one of the lovely teachers in Miss4’s pre-prep class was having a preparatory chat about the day and how they wouldn’t be doing the usual routine, like checking the weather and their class jobs, but would instead sing their morning song and jump straight onto the bus.
“Oh, no!” exclaimed Miss4 with what her teacher laughingly described as ‘an aghast expression’. “I won’t be able to go.”
“Of course you can go,” her teacher assured her – because she knew we’d already signed the forms.
“No,” sighed Miss4 sadly. “My family is always late. I will miss the bus.”
Even more hilarious because, as the teacher well knows, our daughter had a point. I think we’re the only parents who have actually downloaded the morning song onto their iPhone so we can play it in the car if we know we’re borderline singing it with the rest of the class. I say ‘we’, I mean ‘me’.
“We are not going to be late,” Tracey assured me when she relayed the story the amused teacher had told her. She said ‘we’, she meant ‘me’.
“No,” I agreed.
“We’re always late,” Miss4 chimed in from the dining table.
I chuckled and turned to Tracey. She wasn’t chuckling.
“You’ve got to see this is hilarious,” I said to Tracey.
She did not have to see that.
“You do get that we just got called out in front of the whole class by our daughter for being crappy parents,” said Tracey. Using an amazing technique I’ve never mastered she turned her attention to Miss4 but somehow still managed to give me a very strong message. “Daddy’s going to make sure you get there on time.”
The ‘or else’ was nearly as loud as what Miss4 can manage when she’s really anxious. That’ll come up again in just a few lines.
This was my chance.
“I’ll set the alarm,” I said, also to Miss4, before turning to Tracey. A loud silence passed between us. Damn she’s good. I picked up my phone. “In fact, I’ll do that now.”
Meaning, we went to bed with the alarm set to go off and give us an extra fifteen minutes. I’d swear on a keg of ale I’ve never had her there later than ten, so what could go wrong?
“We go now!” Miss4 bellowed sweetly from all the way over at my earlobe.
“The wha-?” I squawked through my sleep apnea mask. “Wassup?”
“The bus! We’ll miss the bus!”
“Shit!” I stammered, thinking I must have stuffed up the alarm. I was dead. Tracey’s gonna kill me, I thought. No time to worry about that though, I had to wake my wife so we could all get moving. In my signature move, I accidentally flopped an arm onto the other side of the bed and – dammit – completely missed Tracey.
I squinted and blinked.
Turns out I missed because she wasn’t there.
“I saw that,” said Tracey from the door.
The best defence is offence.
“You told her to wake me, didn’t you?” I accused my wife.
“You were looking so peaceful,” she said, without a hint of shame and clearly amused – ironically, much like me when being told the above story the day before. “I couldn’t have that.”
There was apparently no time for coffee, but the good news was Tracey already had everyone else ready, meaning once I was dressed we were right to start the school run.
You ever notice the streets around schools are eerily quiet before the teachers start arriving?
The long shot of all this is, as you can see from the photos at the top of the page, we were, I’m pleased and a little unsure about why it was necessary, the first people to arrive for the bus trip. Tracey even took the photostat the top of this page to commemorate the moment.
About half an hour after we arrived everyone else came in and, after a rarely enjoyed full choir version of So Happy You’re Here, the young kids jumped on the bus. Then, because we’re good parents – and Tracey made me – we followed the bus out to Kenilworth to help supervise (Tracey, not me – I’m not responsible enough) the munchkins.
At which point, with the beginnings of a caffeine headache, I lumbered off to track down a couple of very strong coffees and some bacon.
Awesome parent achievement: Unlocked.
It only took 24 years and seven children.
“Raising a family on little more than laughs”
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