Driving with my two boys in the car drives me I-N-S-A-N-E.
Let me back up. Last night while eating dinner at my mom's--which is a regular thing for me, since NO ONE likes my cooking--I received a message on my answering machine. It was about the Christmas Wreaths I'd bought as part of a fundraiser at Joey's school. Pickup had been between 4 and 6 pm yesterday. Somehow, I'd missed it.
I'm just not really good at the whole...Billions of Papers Coming Home In Joey's Backpack thing. Seriously, the schools are all supposed to be on board with saving the environment, and they kill more trees than anybody. I can't believe what comes home in Joey's backpack. As a working mom, I totally gave up and figured that if something was THAT important, I'd catch it on the fiftieth notice or else he would just tell me. I like that better than what I'm doing this year, which is Trying To Keep Up.
I thought I was doing okay until last night's message. The people in charge, parent volunteers, were very polite when I called them back. "I have no idea how I missed this date," I apologized over the phone. They did not say, "It's okay, don't worry about it." Instead they said, "We brought them home with us. When would be convenient for you to pick them up?"
As an English Major For Life, I tend to read into people's tones and word choice, and I was totally picking up on a vibe with these folks. They did NOT think it was okay that I'd missed the big Wreath Pickup. (I swear to God I never saw a notice about it.) All the same, I tried to maintain a level of sweetness without becoming phony (which is really hard for me since I tend to blurt and/or say exactly what I'm thinking).
I was super nervous all day about having to pick up the stupid wreaths, it having been decided that after 4 pm would be best. Noah was actually kind of wonderful today. We had our first real snow of the year, and ran around in the driveway catching snowflakes on our tongues. Then we warmed up and played Mickey Mouse all morning, had a great nap, later sang Christmas songs and played more Mickey Mouse. When Joey got off the bus, things were a little crazier, since coming home from school seems to let loose some sort of mania inside him that he's been keeping at bay for his teacher all day.
I got Joey changed, loaded them into the car, and sped off through the streets of our town in search of the Wreath House. I was feeling anxious about the unhappy Wreath People, since they were specifically unhappy with me, and decided a quiet drive might calm my nerves.
"MOMMA!" shouted Noah. "TURN ON 'SUMMER OF '69!!'"
"Mom," said Joey, "Do you know what happened at school today?"
"SUMMER OF '69! SUMMER OF SSSSSSSIIIIIIIXXXXXXTTTTTYYYYY NIIIIIIIIIINE!!!!"
"MOMMA! DO YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENED AT SCHOOL TODAY???"
"What happened at school, Joey?" Now I'm fiddling with the radio, watching the road, my windshield wipers start randomly going, and Noah is still screaming "Summer of '69."
"Well," Joey says conversationally, like it's just me and him over a cup of coffee on a desert island, "I decided to tie my shoes together because I was bored, and my teacher caught me, and she had to cut my shoelaces off, and--"
So, it wasn't a peaceful ride.
The Wreath People, upon my arrival, were actually smiley and rather pleasant, so it turned out my Professional English Major vibes were off. It happens. But on the ride home, the boys got even worse. "Summer of '69" was playing on repeat, Noah was belting it out, and Joey was trying to tell me about a picture of a rash he saw in his DEAR book that he was sure he was going to contract from touching the pages, and it was getting dark, and Joey actually starting crying about the rash, so Noah sang louder, and then Joey thought his gums were hurting, and finally I lost it.
"HEY!" I said over the noise. "LISTEN! DRIVING IS VERY SERIOUS BUSINESS! I canNOT listen to you, answer your questions, AND safely drive this car, so YOU NEED TO BE QUIET!!!"
There was a moment of beautiful, loud silence until Noah said, "Mommy, you are CWAZY."