It started with an email from Brady’s teacher asking for volunteers to cut out 25 leaves for a March Is Reading Month display. Since I am a little helper bee (Mark says I am a sucker), I emailed back to say that I would help. It was Friday; she needed them back by Monday.
Of course I did not get around to it until Sunday. Brady wanted to help but I told him that it had to be done by an adult. I pulled out the template and immediately knew I had been “Peitzed.” (Peitz is my grandmother’s maiden name and refers to any time you get fooled into doing something that is much more big/complicated/expensive/etc. than one would think.) The template was as big as a piece of construction paper and the most intricate pattern for a leaf that I have ever seen. It was much more complicated than the simple maple leaf that I had in mind when I agreed to cut out 25 of those suckers.
An hour in, I had them all traced but only nine cut out. I suddenly wished that I had agreed to let Brady help me. But no, he had decided he was not very good at cutting around curves anyway. I put everything away to cook dinner. By the time the evening rush of dinner, clean-up, bath time, and bed time was done, I no longer had the energy to cut with much enthusiasm. I decided to wake up early in the morning and finish them before school. I knew it was a bad idea at the time, but I was feeling overly optimistic.
I woke up early the next morning and got to cutting. Forty minutes later, I had to start getting ready for work and get the boys ready for school and I still only had 19 cut out. I checked the email again and was disappointed to see that she did, in fact, need them back by Monday.
As a last ditch effort, I put a pair of scissors in the van as I was packing up in case I was freakishly early getting Brady to school. I was not, but I was early enough to cut out one more leaf. As Brady was telling me he did not want to be late for school, I frantically cut out one more leaf while in the school parking lot. I questioned the wisdom of doing so, as stopping at 19 looks like I really did run out of time, and stopping at 20 makes it look like I just got tired and figured it was close enough.
The bell was about to ring so I gave the envelope holding the carefully cut leaves to Brady and told him that I would email his teacher about why there were only 20.
“No, Mom,” he said, “I think you should walk up there with me. You should give the envelope to my teacher and you should tell her why you did not finish.”
I sighed. He was right. I walked him into school and when his teacher came to collect the kids, I handed her the envelope and sheepishly explained that I did not start on them until Sunday and that I ran out of time.
She was gracious. She smiled and thanked me for doing them at all and told me that 20 was better than nothing. If it was me, I would have thought that you should not volunteer to do things if you are not going to do them, but maybe she is a more forgiving person than me.
So while I might be a crappy volunteer, I must be doing something right as a parent. In the lesson of accountability, Brady nailed it at six years old.