It's a typical 4:30 Tuesday. I bounce between laundry and preparing dinner and checking facebook and planning out the evening....so: we'll eat, return my brother-in-law's truck, zip to Walkerton for the Kijiji chairs - home in time to get the kids in bed and sink into some Being Human.
Zander's fingers suddenly stop their incessant computer gaming just long enough for him to mutter, "Oh, yeah, the Spring Fling's tonight."
I don't even wipe my pork chop fingers before I'm looming over him. "What?"
"It's the Spring Fling tonight." Like it doesn't even matter.
"WHAT DO YOU MEAN, IT'S THE SPRING FLING TONIGHT?"
A spark of fear in his eyes..."...the Spring Fling..."
"And you couldn't tell me about it before now?"
He shrugs and swallows and has no words. He closes the computer.
"We have plans tonight, Zander. I have plans. You can't just dump this now." Granted, my plans aren't spectacular or of any importance in the eyes of a ten-year-old boy but they are mine and I am comfortable with them and I do so enjoy a plan!
And it starts. That intentional breathing that means he's working so hard at holding it together. His eyes shine and swell with pools of tears and he opens them wide to stop the spilling.
"When does it start?"
"I don't know."
"When do you have to be there?"
"I don't know."
"Do you understand why I'm frustrated."
"Mmmmhmmmm." And now his chin's trembling and he's looking up at the ceiling because if he looked me in my eye he would surely loose control of his.
And what I really want is to tell him 'too bad-so sad' and let him suffer in the ashes of his neglect. (And no, I will not be responsible for not reading the newsletter and putting the date on the calendar. If something is important and people are depending on you CLAIM YOUR OWN RESPONSIBILITY - as in, GET IT TOGETHER, ZANDER, AND OWN YOUR OBLIGATIONS!!!) But it is not my prerogative to deprive his dependent classmates on their partner in the presentation - which apparently they've been practicing for the last three weeks...
"Call Britain and find out when you have to be there." Now his eyes are red rimmed. "Do you need some time to get yourself back together before you call him?"
He nods and bites his lip and disappears up the stairs.
And I roll my eyes and blow out my exasperation and want to strangle him and hug him all in the same moment.
When I go upstairs he's in his bunk, facing the wall, doing some weird breathing exercise that lifts his shoulders and bubbles out his lips. I invoke my Power-Of-Mom and pull him against me like he's five and he suddenly blubbers over in a teary-snot-run-mess of briny apology and heart-break - like he can hold it together until he realizes that I actually love him.
And he clings and heaves and doesn't even have to say sorry because the puddle on my sweater says it all.
We eat in a rush and I don't do the dishes and we get him there in time and I love how dorky and awkward he is up there at the edge of the stage with his hands in his pockets doing the Responsibility Rap (Oh, so ironic). And we get the truck back to my sisters and we get the Kijiji chairs and we're home way past bedtime and hopefully Zander learned something from all of it.