My husband Andy also works as a journalist, so our schedules are crazy to say the least. There are times we work seven-day weeks. There are times one or more of those seven days consists of well over eight hours of work.
Andy is the director of children's ministries at our church, and he also serves on the church council and the stewardship and education committees.
I am a member of our church's handbell choir, and I also serve as a certified lay speaker and on the Staff-Parish Relations Team.
I have one night meeting I cover every month, and Andy is in a night shift rotation at his job, which means he works 4 p.m. to midnight at least one day a week.
We were finally getting into a rhythm and not forgetting where the two of us had to be, and then it happened.
Our 8-year-old son starting wanting to join stuff.
For the most part, my husband and I are good about remembering where Will has to be and when. Andy does Cub Scouts with him, so I don't have to worry about that. And Andy is in charge of all the kids' stuff at church, so if Will has to go to something related to that, Andy's going to be there anyway.
Then a few weeks back, Will brought home a sign-up form and informed us that he wanted to join the Spanish Club at school.
Spanish Club? In third grade? Really?
It's like pulling teeth to get Will to read or do his homework, so his being interested in any sort of academic pursuit was exciting.
As it turned out, the Spanish Club would meet each Tuesday right after school. The children were to be picked up at Tzouanakis at 4 p.m.
Normally, Will goes to the YMCA after school program at Ridpath. I never leave him there until 6 p.m., but I do have the option. I normally pick him up right around 4:30 p.m.
So Tuesday before last, I was chugging along at work. I'd come in relatively early, and I was actually caught up for once.
I looked at the clock on my computer. It was only 10 after 4. Wouldn't Will be excited to see me early?
I drove over to Ridpath, and picked up the signout sheet. I didn't see Will anywhere, but figured he was either in the gym or on the playground.
I approached one of the Y workers and asked where I might find my son.
She looked perplexed.
"Will didn't get off the bus," she said.
I felt all the blood drain from my brain. What did she mean he didn't get off the bus? Where was my son? What the ...
Then it hit me.
It was Tuesday. He was still at TZ, and had been waiting for me to pick him up for 15 minutes.
Had I not been in a room full of children, I may have let loose with an expletive. Since I was, I opted for "Oh, crap!"
I got into my car, and of course got stuck at every possible 4-way stop. I got caught behind people doing 5 mph under the speed limit. I had to let people cross the street.
I tried to call TZ, but got the machine. This panicked me all the more.
I was about two blocks from TZ when my phone rang. It was the school. I told them I was two minutes away.
When I got to the school at 4:27 p.m., I threw my arms around my son and burst into tears. I thought he would have been freaked out, but he was completely calm.
"I know you're busy," he said matter-of-factly.
That almost made me feel worse.
Later that night, my 19-year-old daughter called me. I relayed the incident to her.
"Was I late picking you up from stuff?" I asked.
"Oh, yeah," she said. "All the time. You're a little flaky, Mom. But we've all learned to love that about you."
I've actually started setting little alarms on my phone to remind me when I have to be somewhere.
But hey, do me a solid, would you? If it's 3:45 p.m. on a Tuesday and you think of it, give me a call and remind me I need to pick up Will from Spanish Club.
Jamie Barrand is the editor of the Banner Graphic.