I’m a moving target, dodging bullets made of 8.5” X 11” sheets of paper. They come at me in all colors, textures and fonts and many are soggy crumpled fistfuls by the time they reach my hands.
Yet despite their distinct physical attributes, all these permission slips have two things in common: they’re urgent and get lost.
I can’t speak for other parents. But it does seem that a majority of my parental counterparts have systems in place that yield greater effectiveness. And most do indeed accomplish quick turn-arounds to this ongoing ambush. (According to my kids, we're always the last ones to get them signed and turned in to the teacher.)
Each morning the drama escalates and so does my blood pressure. Like her beleaguered mother, my fifth grader is oftentimes scattered and disorganized. Most of the time, neither one of us remembers how many times I’ve filled in the same permission sheet for the same event or field trip or sex-ed class or online survey.
Who the hell can keep track?
The other day my eleven year-old daughter came home filthy, her skin tarred and streaked with what appeared to be tire tracks. “What happened to you?” I asked, horrified.
“Don’t you remember signing the permission slip for me to go to the Museum of Drag Racing and Monster Trucks? You even put in the $6 so I could get my face painted like a tractor.”
Last week I got a call at 8:30pm from my son’s classroom representative. She wanted to confirm that I was still supplying the 54 plastic green spoons for the end-of-year toad-themed party.
They needed them yesterday.
Apparently, I'd signed up to do so.
“Of…course I am,” I stated, instantly fishing for my car keys to make a mad dash to the dollar store before it closed.
Yesterday morning my daughter needed permission to watch Charlie and the Chocolate Factory during school hours. Seriously? Didn’t my three year-old just see that?
Somehow the ubiquitous permission form escaped me. Nonetheless, I scrambled to first locate the wayward scrap of paper---now smeared with ketchup from Monday’s dinner---and then scribble my John Hancock seconds before she scurried out the door.
“Mom,” I got a call this morning from my eight year-old daughter minutes after drop off. “If you don’t come to the school office before 10am,” she ranted breathlessly, “and fill out the slip for the event tomorrow, they won’t let me go.”
“Didn’t you submit that one already?”
“Can’t I just email your teacher or send her a quick text?”
When I hurried into the school office, they asked me to submit her health insurance information.
For the 37th time.
“Can’t you just keep it on file?” I couldn’t resist asking the most obvious question in the world.
The administrator furrowed her brows and shook her head back and forth, visibly annoyed by the ludicrousness of such a (stupid) question.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I can’t wait for summer, for a reprieve from this slow but steady suffocation.
Because this mom needs some air.