Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Things I Do For My Daughter

This week is American Education Week. As part of this event, parents were invited to eat breakfast with our children. I looked at the cafeteria menu last week and cringed: waffles, sausage, syrup and milk or juice. Not exactly on my food plan. But Mabel really wanted me to go, so I sent in the $1.25 for my ticket.

Would you believe I forgot all about it? Over the weekend I never looked in my daughter's school folder, where the ticket I bought was waiting for me. The kids didn't have school yesterday, so there was no reminder from the teacher about it.

I dropped Mabel off at the bus stop and went to work as I usually do at 8 a.m. I usually never leave the office until later in the day, but this morning I decided to go to the post office. When I returned there was a message on the machine from the school secretary asking if I might have forgotten about breakfast, and that Mabel was waiting for me.

I rushed out the door, leapt into my car and whizzed out to the school. I invented my own parking space since it was full, and then I ran to the school building. No, you read that correctly, I RAN.

Running has never been in my vocabulary. At the age of 8 I was diagnosed with allergies and asthma, and two years later I dislocated my knee for the first time, and since then running has been a no-go area. In school, gym class was fine as long as it was a relatively stationary sport, like volleyball, bowling or archery. Basketball? Yeah, right. In 6th grade I was attempting to dribble and run with the basketball and proceeded to viciously dislocate the old knee and was taken by ambulance to the hospital because it didn't want to go back in place. I'll never forget it; my knee looked like a square shape and couldn't bend.

But today I ran. And when I walked in the door I wasn't wheezing and out of breath; my knees felt fine. By God, I felt like a normal person; or even better, a person in shape!

I proceeded to power walk down to Mabel's classroom, where she was coloring a picture of a turkey. I could see she had been crying, and boy did the guilt meter go off the charts! I told her we better get down to the cafeteria, and on the way I could see her mood lift, the pep in her step increase. And fortunately, we weren't horribly late; in fact, some parents showed up after me, so that made me feel a little better.

Once we got up to the food I tried to get the cafeteria lady to only give me one waffle instead of two. She looked at me like I was crazy and said, "You paid for two, you might as well take them!" So I did, in addition to my little sausage patty and tiny plastic cup of syrup. I threw a small 1% white milk on my tray, too, and followed Mabel to the table where her best friend was sitting. By this time her unhappiness over me being late was gone and she was thrilled to be with her friend.

I took one bite of the waffle, and it was awful (hee hee, awful waffle!). I discreetly spit the bite out and tucked it under the rest of the waffles where no one could see it. I did wind up eating the sausage with about a third of the syrup (maybe somewhere between 1/2 -1 Tbsp.), and I decided to take the milk with me. The other mother and grandmother at the table also skipped their waffles, as did my daughter, so I didn't look out of place at all as we carried our trays up to the garbage.

As I left Mabel at her desk she gave me a hug, and it was so good to see she had forgiven me for my motherly faux pas. While I walked out to my car I figured I probably added an extra 200 calories to my daily total. Not sure what my power sprint to the school tallied up to, but that didn't really matter. I managed to be there for my daughter and didn't totally derail my food plan for the day. Good stuff.

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