Sometimes, well, a lot of times, dangit, all of the time, I arrive late. I can’t blame my kids, though their lack of never knowing where they took their shoes off doesn’t help much. I have been running late my whole life. I think. And I really don’t like being late. I typically get distracted and I think I can pack so many more things into a few minutes. But I guess I can’t, in the end. I know it’s a frustrating tendency. It is not because I don’t value other people’s time. I don’t like attention for being “fashionably late.” I am not fashionable. Please don’t look at me. I’m forgetful, and I strangely remember things at the most inopportune times, like when I should be in the car. On the road. Or already arriving somewhere.
I have been locked out of classrooms, basketball practices, beer tours, and tons of other stuff for being late. These disciplinary measures have not changed me, unfortunately. I get annoyed with myself, so I can imagine that I annoy other people too. Especially the kind who have never been late. Ever. They never run out of gas. Or lock their keys in their car. Or write the wrong date in their planner. Just don’t call me old reliable. It’s okay. I get it. But sometimes, really awesome stuff happens when I arrive late. Like tonight.
I was rather exhausted from a day of garage cleaning, outdoor pool playing, the Minute Clinic(takes more than minutes) with all the boys taking out every Hallmark card and a swim lesson for the boys. I thought “what a sucker” because I had agreed to run the 100 meter dash in the corporate challenge. The guy in charge said,”Not a lot of women in your age group want to run the 100 meter dash.” Really? Pulled hamstrings aren’t cool when you’re 35? I laughed but said I would do it. I even made my husband run sprints with me on the hills of Branson. Tonight was the big night. I used to love watching Flo-Jo run. So, I would just visualize her cheering me on. I needed to drive to the track for my check-in time, you know at 9:00 pm. Yep. When the day is typically over. Awesome time slot. I couldn’t even wear my sunglasses to hide my one zombie eye.
One of my sons wanted to go early with me to warm up on the track and sit by the Children’s Mercy flag on the football field. He remembered watching me run last year. He thought it would be really cool to be down on the field, instead of up in the bleachers. I always love having a companion so I was happy he wanted to ride with me. I knew something was off when we arrived in the parking lot and it was rockstar parking. Last year, I could barely find a spot. We got out of the car and started to walk to the entrance. I guy with a man bun, short running shorts, that also had the slits up the side, told me that we would have to go in the back entrance. He seemed intense, definitely Corporate Challenge material. Maybe a Garmin employee. Okay, I thought. Kind of weird. We walked in and literally there were no people in the stands. Odd again. We walked over to the check-in area which was a concession stand. Nope. It was closed. Lights should have been going off. But they weren’t. Yet.
Ash and I walked down to the infield of the track. We counted five people. No Children’s Mercy flag flying anywhere. Hmmm. I checked my phone. I went to the Corporate Challenge website to make sure that I was at the right location. Luckily, and ironically, we arrived about 30 minutes early. I had pseudo warmed up and stretched at home. I could probably make it to another track. I read that I was in the right location. Huh. Then, I noticed something odd. The dates for the track events. What was today’s date? It’s so hard to keep track of what day it is, especially in the summer. Ahhhh, last week. The Corporate Challenge track events all took place last week. I was slightly early, but somehow a week late. That may be a new record. Impressive. Looks like no pulled hamstrings for me.
I am pretty certain that I will be blackballed from the CMH corporate challenge track team in the future. Whoops. There’s always basketball. Unfortunately, I would not have been able to run last week anyways due to my sleeping guts. It was better that I forgot because then my guts didn’t even know they stole the Corporate Challenge 100 meter dash away from me. My son and I ended up having the most fun and unexpected outdoor mom/son date. We had races all over the track and on the football field. He’s a competitor. He wanted to beat his mama. We kept “tying” each other. I looked over at the sweet six-year-old boy pumping his arms as hard and fast as he could with his bare feet on the turf and I was proud. I taught him how to get down on your mark, hands on the line. Get set, butt in the air. Then GO!!
We laughed about how nobody was there. Because Corporate Challenge was last week. Then, we went and got ice cream and talked on a park bench outside. There was a guy on a motorcycle, kind of, blasting his music and driving around the parking lot. My son asked me why his music was so loud. I told him that sometimes when a really good song is on, you just want everybody to hear it. And all you want to think about is that song. Then, I told him we could listen to music really loud with the windows down on the way home too, if he wanted to. He loved that idea.
It was the best kind of date. Outdoor, cheap, impromptu. He got to see the old apartments his dad and I lived in. I thanked him for coming with me to the track. He thanked me for the ice cream. I reached back and held his hand outside of my window, as his was hanging outside of his window. At that stop light on Johnson Drive. We listened to music loud with the windows rolled down, when he wasn’t talking my ear off. Telling me about babies feet and how small they are. And about how we need to get another dog for Gizmo so he won’t be lonely. Asking or telling me proudly that he’s the only one out of his brothers who got to see our old apartments. And so on and so on. Special one on one moments. Carved out unexpectedly by my scatter-brained tendencies. And forgetfulness.
When I say that I won’t ever forget tonight. Really, I mean it. And I am quite certain my son won’t either. I think my brain may be holding so many of these most precious fleeting moments and memories that sometimes it just gets maxed out. It forgets things. Times, dates, sometimes doctor’s appointments. It all works out for the best, though, most of the time. If I can just relax and stop beating myself up for a minute and notice the really special opportunities dropped down, right in front of my face. And quickly grab them up before they are gone.