Illustration by Cliff Thomas
Mornings can be hectic for everyone. But around my house, mornings are manic.
As much as I try to get things together the night before, to ease the transition out the door, there always seems to be a new crisis popping up.
A few mornings ago, Raff and I were rushing as usual, racing against the clock to get out of the house on time. I had laid out his clothes for the next day and set his backpack by the front door. Yet, somehow, I was still hollering for Raff to get his shoes on quicker or we would be late. He hurried through the door with untied laces.
As we pulled up to the school, I asked Raff to get his things together. He would have to hit the ground running as soon as we pulled up.
“Oh no! I forgot my backpack!” Raff lamented.
“Raff! It was sitting right by the front door, as usual!” I said as we pulled up to the school’s front door and put the car in park.
“Oh no again! I don’t have my mask!” Raff cried.
I rolled my eyes to the roof of the car.
At this point during the pandemic, you’d think I would have numerous masks lurking and laying about. But just the day before, I had deep cleaned my vehicle and taken all of the masks out to wash them. I had forgotten to return them to my console.
Raff begged me to not make him go to school with no backpack and no mask, assuring me he would have to take a behavior mark if he came to class with none of his school supplies. And, according to him, wearing a disposable mask to class would be tortuous.
He pouted with big round eyes.
“Oh OK, fine.” I said, putting the car back into drive. “We can go to Walmart, but we are running in and running out! And I’m bringing you straight back to school!”
Raff nodded, still giving the pouty lip.
Once inside the store, we made our way to the backpack aisle. There weren’t many choices, and I could see Raff’s face form a grimace as he eyed the options.
“Remember, this is just for an extra. Tomorrow you’ll have your regular backpack.” I lead him to the clearance backpacks.
“Pick from these. I’m going to go grab you some paper and pencils, and a mask and I’ll be right back.”
I hurried over the school supply aisle and got what he needed, and quickly headed to the front of the store where I had seen a large selection of masks.
I looked around where I thought I had spotted the masks, but couldn’t see them. I started to ask an employee when I saw a few masks on a different aisle. I grabbed a couple that looked like something Raff would like, and headed back to the aisle I had last seen him on.
“Are you ready?” I asked, once I spotted him.
“Yes, I found a Razorback backpack for seven dollars.” Raff said proudly, holding up his selection.
“Perfect, let’s go check out so I can get you back to school.”
When we made it back to his school, all by 8:30 A.M., I was quite proud of us, feeling like we really had it together now. I checked him in as “tardy,” wished him a great day at school and headed to work.
That afternoon, as I waited in the pick-up line at school, I noticed Raff was wearing a disposable mask — the kind he swore he just couldn’t fathom wearing. He also wore a scowl across his brow.
Raff got into my car sulking and closed the door a little more abruptly than normal.
“How was your day?” I tentatively asked.
“It was so embarrassing,” Raff said quietly.
“Embarrassing? What happened?” I asked him.
“Well, when I got into my first class after you checked me in, I went to put my mask on and it WASN’T a mask,” he said, getting more upset.
I looked over at him as I kept looking back at the road. I pulled in to the first parking lot that I could find so that I could give him my full attention.
“OK, well I’m pretty sure I got you two masks and put them into your backpack,” I said.
Raff picked up his backpack and unzipped the very pocket I had put them in. And then he pulled out two thongs.
My eyes widened and I struggled to breath as I tried to stifle a huge laugh.
“They were underwear, Mom! You thought these were masks but they were girl’s panties!” he exclaimed.
“Babe, I’m so sorry. I guess they were hung up in a weird way and I truly thought I was getting you two pretty cool masks. See, this one is even camo,” I giggled.
Raff did not look amused.
“Sweetie, I’m really sorry. I would have never intentionally wanted to embarrass you, especially at school. Wanna go to Chik-Fila for an apology snack?” I asked.
Raff slightly nodded.
“Would it make you feel better if I wore the camo pair through the drive-thru line, pretending like I think it’s a mask?”
He nodded emphatically.
I got a couple of weird looks while I ordered, but it was definitely worth hearing the eruptions of laughter while we waited on our food and again as he called everyone he could think of to tell them what I had done. Oh, the joys of parenting.