by Dani

Family vacation is officially over and I’m once again glued to my computer and  telephone, doing my best to juggle two kids, an aging parent,  a husband, while still preserving a life for myself. In a nutshell,  trying to fit it all in to have the “well balanced life” we all strive for. I like to think I’m good at this.  I am overwhelmed just like every working mother I know, but if I manage to keep all the balls in the air and not lose my balance I think I can call myself successful. So what if I ate a half pound of candycorn for lunch and had breakfast for dinner? While I may be suffering nutritionally it was only for one day (Ok, maybe two).  I can start over tomorrow. My work schedule is on track, my daughter’s homework is done and put away in her backpack and everyone is tucked in their respective beds pretending to sleep. (Yes, I can hear you. GET IN BED!)  I mark this a successful day.

I do however have a couple of shameful items I want to confess.

While I can do second grade math, I can not teach second grade math. Meaning, I know the answers, but I can’t tell a seven year old how to get to them. I graduated from a top woman’s college. I was in Military Intelligence. On paper I’m pretty smart. Yet I clearly have gaping holes in my education. I have always known this and have done my best to hide it and now a seven year old is setting up to potentially blow my cover.

One of last night’s examples; If you put three white kittens in a box and then add nine black kittens to the same box and someone wearing a blindfold comes along and reaches in and takes out one kitten, what is the likelihood said blind person will pull out a white kitten? While I know the answer is “unlikely” (it’s multiple choice) I can’t remember how to write the equation to illustrate this. What I want to say in this awkward period that includes me drawing a box complete with twelve kittens, is that blind people don’t care what color their kitten is. They are blind. But I know this isn’t the right answer. The day has come where I have to relearn all of the things I missed out on while passing notes in school.

Second item.

Yesterday my phone rang while I was at my desk. It was my father. He NEVER calls me.

“Hello? Papa? are you ok?”

“Yeah, I’m good. I need you to come get me.”

Slight panic, “Ok. Where are you?”

“Nissan. My brakes are no good.  I drive with the records on so I couldn’t hear them grinding.”

Dad drives with Dolly Parton cranked so loud that I can hear every syllable of Jolene from the third floor of our house as he turns the corner.  Dad calls CDs records. The “records” are never changed. He’s got the Best of Dolly, Best of Kenny, Best of Bruce, Best of Linda, Best of the Eagles and a little Jason Mraz thrown in for when I borrow the car.

That was yesterday.

This afternoon I heard a horn honking in front of our house and looked out to see a Dodge pick up truck I didn’t recognize. I walked out onto the balcony in time to see dad leaving the house and getting in the truck. My father has a lot of people he calls friends but he doesn’t go out with them and  I haven’t seen him get in a car other than one of ours, let’s say, never.

I guessed it was part of Nissan’s service to pick up their customers. This is pretty common.

At dinner I said, “So Pop. Who gave you a ride to get your car this afternoon?”

“Oh. That was a friend from the restaurant.” Really?

“That’s nice. How did he know to come get you? (He doesn’t know his own phone number so dialing a friend is almost always out of the question)

“I have the card from the restaurant. I called and told him I needed a ride.”

“Wow. What was his name? Is it that carpenter you like?”

“No. It’s the kid.”

“What kid?”

“The kid that delivers the pizza.”

“Dad. You called the pizza delivery guy for a ride to the garage?”

“Of course I did. He’s got a nice new truck.”

I would be lying if I said I have never called for a pizza to be delivered to my house after last call and then waited outside to offer the driver carrying my pizza an extra ten bucks to drive me home with it, but I have never used them for a cab service mid afternoon.

“Dad, I would have brought you.”

“It’s Ok Dee. You were busy. You can’t do it all.”

While there is a lesson to be learned here, I’m sure of it, I still feel like a heel. A heel that can’t do simple math.