The teenager is a junior at our local public high school, plays low brass and usually makes the honor roll.
Her entire school career we’ve had “the rule.” You get one bail out per school year. One Mom-SOS request to bring an item to school— band music, mouthpiece, lunch, whatever.
Today, on the first official day of in-person hybrid public education she forgot her school-issued Chromebook.
7:36 a.m. (one minute before the late bell rings) — text message— “Mom SOS.”
I go up to her room and find her refurbished MacBook Air and her school Chromebook. Both stacked nicely on her newly organized desk. Neither plugged in.
“Is it charged?” I text.
She assures me it is.
I try to resist the kittens gathering at my feet. It’s hard— but I have a mission.
I grab her wallet (as she has my keys attached to it at this moment) my wallet, and my flip flops.
I am now “that mom.” I always prided myself on being dressed and groomed before walking my kid to school. But today, I am still as I was when I rolled out of bed: crisp white t-shirt now speckled with some Fiero dust (spicy Taki-style corn snacks in fire-breathing chili lime flavor), no bra, and yoga pants.
When did I become this?
It’s raining lightly, the crickets are singing.
I park the car near the school and buzz the office (which, with me were several late coming students). It’s a small school so the employee in the office pretty much knows most of the parents and all of the kids.
From my sequestered hallway in the vestibule I hand her the computers and noticing the lack of cords she asks me, “Chargers?”
She knows teenagers. She sees it every day.
“She claims they are charged.”
The office employee nods. I realize I really should know her name, but I suppose it’s not a bad thing as I have not become one of “those parents” in addition to “that mom.”
“Those parents” are always at the school dropping things off or calling to talk to someone about their child.
The woman at the window asks if my daughter is coming for the machines, so I text her. (Is this not blatant disregard for the “no phones in school” policy?)
She says she doesn’t think she can unless someone gives her permission. I relay this. The woman in the office calls.
I have not said my daughter’s name out loud this whole time.
It’s a small public school.
I am instructed to leave the technology on the narrow table beside me in the hall. I exit. I see the teenager approaching from inside the locked doors. I wave from the rainy outdoors.
I walk home in the rain— my middle aged self in a white t-shirt. I figure the child will want to drive later so I leave the car there.
Funny part is, it was raining on her orientation day last week so I let her friend use my umbrella. Her friend also had it with her today.
I get home a little soggy and my daughter’s cat is in my spot.
And to think my daughter asked me — “why are you up this early?”
Apparently for an SOS.