Friday, March 20, 2015

Have You Ever Forgotten Your Child?

Have You Ever Forgotten Your ChildToday started out with me not getting up with the alarm, the hot water heater not working for my shower, finding out that The Kids have a presentation tomorrow and I need to make them costumes and a flood in the laundry room. And, it ended with me having an upset stomach from food at the party and needing to make said costumes at 10:30pm at night* and realizing that I didn’t have any glue for the masks. I knew that I should have stayed in bed.

But the real reason for this post has nothing to do with the events that I just mentioned. No, they pale in comparison to what happened after the flood and before the costumes. The story I’m about to tell is worse, way worse.

In case you haven’t been following along with our Mexican adventures. for the last several years, things in Mexico work a bit differently. That’s an understatement.

While it is customary to be two hours late for a birthday party and one hour late for any other event, or, in the case of the Dentist, you just never show up, school rules are different. Very different.

Once the school bell rings, if your child is not inside the facility, the doors are locked and your child is not going to school for the day. And, if you’re late for picking up your child, you get one warning and then your child has to miss a day of school. I’m not going to judge their tardiness or the consequences because while it might not work for Canadians, it works for Mexicans. Besides, if we don’t like it, we can leave.

Locked Mexican School Door

This morning, I was late (see note about the alarm above for details) and The Kids only made it to school with only a few moments to spare (normally we’re early). My mind was elsewhere thinking about the piece of toast that I’d left at the front door and so I almost didn’t see the two signs or catch the door man say (in Spanish) “All the kids need to be picked up at 11am”.

Every day, the parents ask “What time should I pick up my child today” and every day, the answer is Noon. I’ve never figured out why they ask every day but figure that it has something to do with the fact that you never know if there’s going to be school at all** and you’re at the mercy of hearing the doorman repeat “No school for class X today”. Of course there are never any signs. Except for today.

After I dropped off The Kids, I proceeded to have a cold shower and flood the laundry room. Then, I hopped on the computer for a bit.

Time always flies by and by the time I realize what time it is, it’s time to leave. But not today. No, when I looked at the clock, it was only 11:30am. I had plenty of time to top up my tea and grab the 326 toys that Max makes me bring to school every day for his friends and him to play with. And, I’d still make it in time for Noon with a few minutes to spare.

And then it hit me.



I have never ran so fast in my life. I covered three blocks in a minute or two. if my keys hadn’t been in my pocket then I would have locked myself out of the house.*** I remember passing my neighbour but didn’t even acknowledge her existence which is quite rude for Mexican culture. I doubt around here that being late for picking up your kids is good enough reason for ignoring someone. If that were the case, no one would ever talk to anyone. The problem was that I could hardly breathe and it had nothing to do with the fact that I was running, uphill, fast.

When I arrived, the door was open and no one was manning it. I ran inside and made it half way to the kids classroom before they called out to me. When I turned around, there they were, standing in the cemented playgroup with their knapsacks on and watching all the teachers get ready for tomorrows “Celebration of Spring”. Safe and sound.

Mexicans joke that they’d be late for their own funeral if they could. Having said that, out of 150 students in the school, The Kids were the only ones (besides one other boy) whose parents had forgotten them. Allow me to correct myself and replace “parents” with “parent”.***

I had forgotten about The Kids.

I caught my breathe and started to apologize profusely to anyone that would listen. The Kids looked at me for a minute and then asked disappointingly, “Are we leaving”. To which I felt like replying “Yes, we’re going home where I will give you two of anything that you want”. When I confirmed that we were in fact leaving, they both immediately protested and said that they wanted to stay and help. I quickly realized that they didn’t notice and/or care that I was late. Not only that but they wanted to stay longer.

So, I did what any parent would do, I went over to the teachers and apologized and then got into a 20 minute conversation**** with them about nothing to do with my tardiness.

As I write this, more than 12 hours after the incident, I swear that my heart is still beating a little faster. If guilt could kill, I would be dead right now. The good news is that the costumes are ready and The Kids are none the worse for wear. As for me, I should get over it, around the time that I’m late for my own funeral.

Spring Presentation Mexico School

Have you Ever Forgotten your Child?

Can you guess what The Kids are going to be in the Spring Pageant?

Note that this is Mexico so while there were probably 20 Papelerias that were still open in the city, I opted for choice #1 and knocked on my neighbours door (I knew that they’d be up and they were) and I borrowed their glue.

P.S. The Kids don’t have to be at school until 9:30am tomorrow morning. Guess what time I’ll have them there!?

P.P.S. I could always use the excuse that things got “lost in translation”…

* We were at a party (surprise, surprise) and I didn’t have time before that to make the costume.

** On any given day, you can arrive with your kids at school and the door man will tell you, “Oh, no classes today for Maestra X” and so you turn around and take your kid home. Apparently supply teachers don’t exist in this country. Fortunately for us, The Kids teacher has only been off one day in 3 months and she told us the afternoon before.

*** Ed was downtown doing errands. I guess it could have been worse, I could have locked myself IN the house. Again.

**** I use the term “conversation” loosely. Here it would be called “chisme” which doesn’t have a good translation because it means gossip or rumour in English. If that were the case than all conversations between women here would be gossip.

41 thoughts on “Have You Ever Forgotten Your Child?

  1. Rachel G

    Seems like it all ended quite well–don’t worry too much. If the kids remember, they could try to make you feel guilty later on, but it’s just teasing. Here’s why I believe that: One time, we had all gone to the grocery store, and I, who was probably 13 at the time, had gone to put the cart away after we’d loaded up the van with food, and mom got in the car and started driving away…leaving me behind in the parking lot. I started running after the van, and apparently all of my siblings in the van were yelling, “Mom! You forgot Rachel!” so she stopped. So, we still tease her about that to this day, but no emotional scarring actually occurred.
    Rachel G recently posted…Bewildering FoodMy Profile

  2. Laurie P

    I’ve never forgotten my kids, but there are moments when I forget that I have 2. Sounds a little dumb, I know. In my defence, I have a 2 yr old, and as busy as she keeps me, I sometimes forget that I have an almost 17 yr old who is quiet and usually is out, or in his room on his computer lol. Hours go by, sometimes half a day before I see or hear him lol. I could be just planning my day, an outing , or even dinner and I stop and think ” oh wait, what about jr?”

    Hubby does it too here and there, but I’m a little more quilty.

  3. Mark T

    I forgot to pick my grand daughter from the sitter once and felt so guilty when the sitter called to inquire as to my whereabouts. I carried that guilt for a long time.

  4. Maria Griffin

    Never forgot my kids but now that I’m in that ahem stage of life finding where I put grocery items is an “adventure as my husband calls it. You sound like a really sweet harried mom. I can relate to that though.

  5. Freda Mans

    I’ve not forgotten my kids, though maybe secretly at moments would have liked to…. lol… I can feel your heart pumping as I was reading the words, my heart was pumping along with you. At least all is well.
    Freda Mans recently posted…The Friday 56My Profile

  6. Aliya D

    Stuff like this happens and its good to hear that all ended well!

    I have never forgotten the boys, but only because I had a parent who would forget my sister and I ALL THE TIME and in the worst possible situations. My father once left my sister and I in a gang neighbourhood for three hours following the end of some tutorial classes; we were 8 and 6 years old and finally, I took it upon myself to start walking through said neighbourhood with my little sister trying to get to my grandparents home (which was two communities over – about a three hour walk). It was terrifying; especially when we were chased by a dog, approached my sketchy people, etc. I am very conscious of time and the boys because of this.

  7. Debbie S.

    I felt your anguish, you always tell it as you feel it. Funny how your kids wanted to stay longer after all that. I am guilty too, once or twice…, it happens. Well time does fly by some days. All I have to say is I think you are an awesome mom!

  8. Jason

    We’ve never forgotten our little guy but we have lost him in the clothing section where he likes to hide in the racks and I’m sure our time for forgetting will come. Since the kids didn’t even notice, I wouldn’t sweat it. If they were crying and upset I’d probably beat myself up about it but that’s me.
    Awesome job on the costumes 🙂
    Jason recently posted…#HJrecipes Chip Battered ChickensMy Profile

  9. Ronald Gagnon

    As an old bachelor with no children, and a very faint recollection of my youth, all I can do is enjoy your story..and commiserate with you. I doubt that it will have much lasting effects on your children.

  10. kristen visser

    I have not forgotten about my kids…yet lol. hoping i don’t but who the heck knows. I have a 28 month old and a 6 month old. there are with me 24/7 and I watch them like a hawk cause just takes one minute and my daughter is going through the diaper genie LOL

  11. Carla

    Oh my goodness Sarah! I can just imagine how you were stressing running to the school! It is the worst feeling ever and yes I have been there too! It’s one of those moments where you just want to break down and cry. Hugs!
    Carla recently posted…Go Fish – Easter Style!My Profile

  12. Brenda A

    Ouch! What a horrible feeling! That moment your brain realizes and your heart stops. I have never fully forgotten them anywhere, but I have on a few occasions forgotten to say goodnight to my oldest, who waited in bed for ages for me to show up.

  13. Peady @ Tempered with Kindness

    Oh my heart! PANIC!

    I could totally feel your sense of urgency on your run. (Glad it was you running and not me because I would have been a *lot* later than 30 minutes. 😛 )

    Thank goodness they were not standing outside of the locked school. Now *that* would have made my heart stop. 🙁

    All’s well that ends well. Yay!

    Speaking of ending well. How was the trip back home?
    Peady @ Tempered with Kindness recently posted…Monday Motivation Needs More Motivation My Profile

  14. loucheryl

    I remember when my first born son was a baby, after a really busy day, he was sleeping in the car as I brought in the groceries and sat down. 30 seconds later it dawned on my that he was still sleeping in his car seat, in the garage! I ran to the car and he was still sleeping and just fine. There was no harm done. He was in our private garage and it wasn’t longer than 30 seconds. 🙂

  15. Elizabeth Matthiesen

    Oh boy, this was hilarious, though it must also have been very worrying for you at the time. I can well imagine how you must have felt. Look on the positive side, you got tons of exercise sprinting to the school, the rate your heart was beating was also good conditioning for your heart and the kids have forgotten all about it anyway, in fact I’ll bet they were hoping you wouldn’t turn up at all so that they could help with the preparations 😉

  16. Elaine Buonsante

    One Sunday after church we piled the kids into the car and headed home for our big lunch. It wasn’t until we actually arrived that we realized we only had four kids instead of five 🙁


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