Monday, October 26, 2009

Sunday morning surprise

It was Sunday morning, and I was in that brief half-waking, half-sleeping state when worries do not yet clog your mind and quicken your pulse. I noticed that sunlight was peeking through the blinds and, surprised, I wondered how late it was. With one eye open, I looked over toward the clock - it was 6 something, and no peeps were coming from Nathan's room, so I rolled back under the covers in delight.

A little while later, I woke again and noticed that it was REALLY bright in the bedroom. Panicked, I looked at the clock again, but it read only 7:10. I elbowed Jason and exclaimed that it was very bright in the room for such an early hour - usually it's still pretty dark when we wake up around 7. I quickly concluded that it was the start of Daylight Savings Time, which made sense because our alarm clock is supposed to be some kind of "smart clock" that automatically resets itself when Daylight Savings Time starts and ends. I was a little surprised that I hadn't heard any reminders about DST, but hey - I'd been away for the weekend and hadn't been watching any TV or goofing around on the internet, so it was possible that I'd missed it.

When my clock read 7:34, Annabelle burst into our room, wearing her cheer uniform and an anxious face. "Mom! It's 8:34 - weren't we supposed to be at the field at 8?" I gave Jason a knowing look and launched into a lengthy explanation of what Daylight Savings Time was and why we still had about 20 minutes before we needed to leave.

I kept lazing around and chatting with Jason for a few more minutes before reluctantly getting dressed. As I was putting my shoes on, Jason said, "Are you sure it's Daylight Savings Time? You should check. The computer clock would say the correct time."

I checked my laptop: it read 8:44.

Oh, shit.

I googled Daylight Savings Time 2009. It said "November 1."

Oooooooh, shit.

The clock, purchased several years ago, had not received the memo when Daylight Savings Time dates were changed, so it had set the hour back on the wrong date. Smart clock, my ass.

Jason jumped out of bed and started working on Anna's ponytail while I simultaneously brushed my teeth, smell-checked yesterday's bra off the floor, and looked for the team manager's cell phone number. Not only were we going to miss practice and possibly be late for the start of the football game, but I had also missed my volunteer shift at the raffle table.

As Annabelle started to wail that Dad wasn't doing her hair right and that she'd known we were late all along, I connected with the team manager. "How far away are you?" she asked, "We're doing photos right now! Bring your form to the back field - we're about to do the team photo - we'll wait for you."

Ah, right! It was picture day to boot. Of course.

Cursing, I ran out to the van with no coat and no keys, a crying cheerleader trailing behind me. "Get in!" I barked. Then, "Shit! Keys!"

Five seconds later, I re-emerged from my house after dropping several f-bombs at my husband, with keys in hand, but still no camera, coffee, checkbook, or coat.

I defied the posted speed limit signs and made it to the field at warp speed. Annabelle suffered through a bogus pep talk about "pulling it together" even as her mother's voice cracked with emotion.

We arrived, and I was full-on crying behind my sunglasses, in shame, embarrassment, and most of all, frustration. Last game of the season and no camera? Picture day and ill-constructed Dad-ponytail? Well-prepared, responsible daughter and day-ruining Mom? It was all so upsetting.

As I crouched on the ground, haphazardly filling out the photography order form, desperately trying to hide the fact that I, a grown woman, was crying at cheer practice, my daughter's teammates and their moms rallied around her to get her smiling. I felt overwhelmed with love for all of these people. They did what I couldn't, and within a minute Annabelle was laughing and joining her mates in the team photo.

The girls then ran to the football field, ready to cheer on their football-playing teammates. I looked on with relief as the adrenaline finally shut off and the full body blush gave way to my natural pale skin. I volunteered in the Snack Shack to make up for blowing off my shft at the raffle table. At halftime, Annabelle was not a "base" in the stunting group as usual because she had missed the pre-game practice. But! She got to do a cartwheel right in front of the stunt groups instead!

And so, I was forgiven. By my daughter, her team, and by myself.


  1. You poor thing! This sounds like a harrowing experience, but I'm glad that all was forgiven by the end of the day. And I think Daylight Savings Time is so silly - if we want extra daylight, we should just permanently set all our clocks back an hour and be done with it.

  2. "daylight saving time" not "daylight savings time"

    Of course, I'm still trying to understand how I just learned the term is "champing at the bit" not "chomping at the bit" so I'm not any better...

  3. Kelley,

    This won't be the last time you'll be late for one of your kids activities. Forgive yourself ahead of time. We (parents) are human and will more often than we like make mistakes. I have to tell you that your writing is great. The way you detail a story truly brings it to life to the reader. Even though this was an emotional moment for you the story made me laugh. Why? Well, as a parent who has been around the block a few times, I could relate. Not to mention the line about smell-checking yesterday's bra. Priceless!

  4. Anonymous: I am trying to wrap my head around dropping the "s" at the end of "Saving." It makes sense, and I appreciate the heads-up, but I don't like it. For 32 years (or for as many years as I've known of this phenomenon, anyway) it has been Daylight Savings Time, and now my whole world has been rocked.

  5. Mark: Thanks for the kind words. You've just made my night, sir!