“So, I am definitely not going to Pittsburgh, because I have the ACT this Saturday!” my son told me this morning in a surprising text message. I responded with no small measure of incredulity.
I wondered how I could possibly have missed this. I, the keeper of the family calendar by default, had overlooked a major academic test for my eldest held on the same weekend of a tournament? There had to be something in the water.
I scoured the school calendar that’s been pinned over the television in my cubicle since September. The damned test wasn’t listed on it! My ego was momentarily restored. Once I regained my equilibrium, the mama bear in me breathed a sigh of relief. Watching my boy spar in competition would have to wait for at least another three months.
Nine hours later, my equilibrium was upended again.
“She can’t come in. This is an adult facility. The only way she can work out in the gym is if she’s working with a trainer.”
“But she’ll just be practicing kung fu with me.”
“Can’t do it. What if I another parent sees her and says, ‘I thought you said my kids can’t work out. Why is she allowed to?’ I can’t have that happen.”
“But I told the woman who signed me up I’d be bringing my children sometimes for extra kung fu practice, especially before tournaments. And I told her how old my children are.”
I was talking half to the gym employee and half to myself. Did I forget that my girl is only old enough to use the pool, or was I not told? I wondered. I honestly couldn’t remember.
I apologized profusely to my daughter and kissed her goodbye before my better half carted her back home. I felt bad through the first sloppily executed minutes of training, until my partner returned to the gym and told me to cut it out. Apparently, my daughter couldn’t get out of the car fast enough to go play computer games undisturbed. I was the only one bothered by her denial of practice time before the tournament.
I pondered whether to cancel this trip and have her wait until the local June tournament. But I wasn’t back in the house for more than five minutes before she happily asked me: “How much is my share for the tournament again?” That put an end to the idea of waiting another two months. I’m not about to squash a newfound commitment to the art she’s been going along with for half of her life. My equilibrium could never be that upended.