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Late Slip

posted Wednesday March 21st, 2012

Sophie was late for school today.

It’s happened before. But today — unlike other days — it wasn’t because I rushed and pushed and skidded to the finish line a few moments late.

It was because I didn’t.

I didn’t rush this morning. School doesn’t start til 9 am and we live all of three minutes away — really, there’s no good excuse to ever be late. But just about every day, it seems, there’s a last minute fight: over the outfit, the shoes, the hair. Then there are  the out-the-door requests for juice or toast or a toy Sophie knows is buried somewhere in the play room. I forget to give Sophie her thyroid medicine, or I can’t find her glasses. Or they’re dirty, or they fall apart as I’m grabbing my purse and keys.

It’s always something, and it’s usually something that leads to a struggle, or even a full-blown battle that leaves both of us whiny and grouchy by the time we pull up to school.

At that point, to be honest, I can’t wait to see Sophie go — that is, til we’ve said our goodbyes and she’s lugging her book bag toward the playground, a good two heads shorter than any other kid around. Then I want to pull the car over and jump out and run and hug her hard. Instead, I pull out of the parking lot, totally exhausted.

This morning was different. Ray and Annabelle left at 7:15, as usual, — and, as usual, Sophie asked to cuddle. I ditched the dirty dishes, grabbed the laptop and joined her on the couch, determined to finish a work assignment before we had to leave. She snuggled up against me — and soon was snoring away. I wasn’t suprised; I know she never sleeps well.

I worked and watched the clock, realizing that if I didn’t nudge her awake soon, we’d never make it in time. And that even if we did, it would be after another epic battle — waking her up, fighting over everything from panties (must be worn) to flip flops (must not).  At 8:30, my inner dialogue began.

How bad would it be if Sophie got a late slip? She’s not late so often — well, sometimes — and they just take attendance those first few minutes, anyway. It’s not like she’d be missing any real learning. How terrible would it be to let her sleep a little longer, to take the time to shower, to not — for once — rush either of us?

And so that’s what I did. When she opened her eyes a few minutes later and asked to look at her birthday party board on Pinterest, I said okay and we giggled for a while over satin purple prom dresses and purple candy displays. When she asked to wear a purple dress to school, I offered options til she picked. I didn’t nag or sigh. I told her to choose shoes, and instead of Crocs or flip flops she found some Toms that actually matched her outfit.

She let me brush her bangs. I let her take a Capri Sun with her. And I took the time to get her new purple calculator out of its wrapper so she could take that, too.

I didn’t nag her to get buckled faster, didn’t grit my teeth at the red light, didn’t freak when I realized she wasn’t wearing her glasses. We pulled into school — a ghost town — and said happy good byes. I watched her hitch her book bag up on her shoulder as she negotiated the heavy door to the school office, on her way to get a late slip.

I wondered what she’d tell the attendance lady when asked why she was late.

I fell asleep after breakfast.

I was on Pinterest.

My mom decided she didn’t really care if I was late this morning.

To be honest, I really didn’t care. I pulled away from the school feeling happy and relaxed and a little naughty. It was all of 9:11.

Tonight in the mail, among the bills and magazine subscription offers, I found a form letter from the school with Sophie’s name filled in.

It has come to our attention that Sophie is having difficulty coming to school on time. To date, your child has been late a total of 15 times.

And so on. I was horrified, then I had to laugh. Fifteen? I guess that is a lot.

OK, so I won’t let Sophie be late again.

Or maybe I will.

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Tags: Filed under: Down syndrome by Amysilverman

2 Responses to “Late Slip”

  1. I LOVE this story. We got one of these letters too, must be a trend. I strongly believe in a great beginning to her day (not always achievable) as well as letting her sleep if she needs to (not keeping her up late so she must really need it ya know).
    Hey, would you play with my meme? I’d love that.

  2. I love this story, too. I find it inspirational – taking the time (ha) to be late, savoring beautiful moments together. That’s the kind of mom I want to be.

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