By: Mary Fran Bontempo

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MH900401451Little kids, little problems. Big kids, big problems.

When my kids were little and one was crying and bleeding with a boo-boo, another was having an “accident” just after being dressed for church and the third was telling me he had to create a model of the solar system for school the next day, I thought that saying was a bunch of crap.

While navigating seemingly endless days of chasing around after little ones, trying to keep everyone on track while maintaining a shred of sanity for myself, I thought, Oh, please, once they make it to the bathroom on time, I’ll be on Easy Street.

Foolish, foolish woman.

As with most clichés, the above is grounded in truth. Actually, it’s not just grounded in truth, it might as well be etched in stone, like an eleventh commandment: “Thou Shalt Have Little Children with Little Problems and Big Children with Big Problems.” The twelfth commandment should follow: “And Thou Shalt Drink Copious Amounts of Wine to Endure, Especially when Dealing with the Big Children, For Thou Wilt Need It.”

With Mother’s Day approaching, I will once again make my standard declaration: I love my children and wouldn’t trade them for the world. I would, however, pass on some of their problems.

We’ve had our share of major issues, and thankfully, I’m not talking about those. I’m talking about the things I still have to occasionally step in to handle that require more than a trip to the medicine cabinet for a Bert and Ernie Band-Aid.

Middle child, Laura, moved to Florida two weeks ago to begin a Master’s program in Special Education. After the trauma of getting her and her belongings in the car and safely ensconced in her new home, I thought we were out of the woods, at least for a while.

Again, foolish woman.

A panicked phone call at 10:30 on a Sunday night alerted me to a missing health form that had to be filed before Laura could register for her classes.

“Okay, okay, calm down. Just email me the form and I’ll call the doctor first thing in the morning,” I said, firing up my computer to be sure the mail came through. I printed the form and the following day, after filling out the paperwork, preparing a faxing form and explaining the situation to a very understanding receptionist, raced to the doctor’s office with the documents before 9:30 AM, receiving assurances that the papers would be faxed as soon as the doctor arrived.

After returning home, I called Laura to let her know she could breathe and was hanging up when my cell phone beeped with another call.

“Fran? Where are you?” Dave began.

“I’m in the kitchen. Why?” I said.

“I’ve got Meg (youngest child) on the other line. She locked her keys in her car when she stopped for coffee on the way to work. Do you know if we have a spare for her car?”

“Oh, geez, I don’t know. I’ll look in the cabinet, but I don’t remember seeing one. I’ll call you back,” I said.

A frantic search produced another key just as Dave called again.

“Have you heard from Meg?” he asked.

“No, haven’t you?”

“No. I’m almost home. Did you find a key?”

“Yes. Should I take it to her? Where is she? Oh wait, she’s on the other line now. Hold on.”

“Mom? It’s me. Did you find a key?”

“Yes. Where are you? I’ll bring it to you.”

“Just wait a minute. I may have found a guy at a gas station who can help me.”

“What? How did you get to a gas station?” I asked.

“I ran across Welsh Road. Hold on; I’ll call you back.”

“Dave? She thinks some guy from a gas station can help her.”

“Some guy? What?”

“I don’t know. She’s going to call me back.”

Eventually, all crises were resolved; Laura received her forms and “some guy,” whomever he was, opened Meg’s car. And I realized, yes, now they usually make it to the bathroom on time, but this is definitely NOT Easy Street.

Doesn’t anybody just need a Bert and Ernie Band-Aid?
Happy Mother’s Day to one and all!