During the evening hustle and bustle, Chris stopped me. He asked, "Do you have Caleb's 1902 costume ready for Tuesday?"
"What?" I asked in complete shock.
He eyed me with concern, "You know, the one he's going to wear on his field trip."
No, the costume was not completed. In fact, it wasn't even started as I didn't have the foggiest idea what he was talking about. I raced downstairs and flipped through the mounds of paperwork he brought home from school. Sure enough, a canary yellow paper titled "Field Trip Reminders" sat amid the pile. I scanned the sheet; it outlined all the expectations for the field trip that included a costume and a 1902 appropriate lunch (think corn muffins over Uncrustables). Silently I cursed the school. Since when did field trips become so complicated?
And, so I began to bemoan my position as a mother of school age children. The 1902 costume is just the latest in a long line of "little" things needed for school. My preschooler needs to bring half-dozen egg cartons, cereal boxes, toilet paper rolls, and pictures from every milestone of his childhood. The first grader must bring in a picture of George Washington made from macaroni, toilet paper sculpted into the Eiffel Tower, and a realistic looking red-eyed tree frog costume. Even my three-year old comes home with calendars and little reminders for beach, Green, and pajama days.
I try my darnedest to be on top of it all, but with four little ones it doesn't always happen. For example, Cooper told me (after the fact) that it was season's day at preschool. I'm sure some children arrived in beach wear or maybe hats and gloves. Cooper wore his regular attire: sweats and a t-shirt. He waited for my reaction; I put my hand on Cooper's shoulder and reminded him that he came as spring.
And, so I've realized one of the most important skills a mom of four acquires: improvisation.