Motherhood is full of so many delightful firsts: first smiles, first words, first steps. Then there are the not-so-pleasant firsts: the first time you lose your temper, the first time you make a mistake, the first time you're late to pick up your kids.
That happened to me today. And I felt terrible.
It was AWANA night at church. Not having been out of the house all week, I was feeling a little stir-crazy and was excited to drop off the boys, leave the little ones behind with Daddy, and head to the store for some shopping and sanity. Before I left the house, I made sure to find my watch and put it on so that I wouldn't be wandering around in Walmart (the Mom getaway) long past pickup time.
As I browsed and picked up a birthday present and some items on my grocery list, I kept checking my watch to make sure I wasn't running late. I checked out with 15-20 minutes to spare before pickup time, which presented a dilemma: arrive early and visit with whichever friends happened to be there early as well, or make a quick run without kids to Walgreens, which was on the way. The running-in-without kids sounded really appealing and won over.
Big mistake. By the time I had found the five packages of toilet paper I was buying, the two dish soaps, the two Cover Girl concealers (which were .49 cents each after coupons), and checked out with my coupons, I was already a few minutes late for pickup. Right then, this whole trip just seemed silly. So I was getting a great deal on the t.p. and the dish soap, but really? My kids are so much more important to me than my Charmin and Cover Girl.
Since I don't have a cell phone, there was no one I could call to say I was on my way. It seems like when you're in a hurry, you always get behind the slowest driver in the world, and this night was no exception.
Finally, I arrived at church...25 minutes after they are supposed to be picked up. I thought that surely there would still be some kids and moms there. But no, it was just the AWANA commander and my boys, one in tears, because all the other kids had long since been picked up and taken home and yet their mommy wasn't there. He said he thought he was going to "have to stay at church for a long, long time."
I could have told him the Bible story of Hannah and Samuel, how she left her son with Eli in the temple for ever, but I didn't. :)
Lesson learned: errands always take longer than anticipated. If you think you can squeeze in just one more itty bitty thing before x, y, or z, you probably can't. Err on the side of caution if it matters to you to not be late. (The plus side is I am stocked up on toilet paper for a good long while, though). ;)