It’s been a while since I’ve written. Life has been so busy – crazy busy! – and I’ve been hanging on by my toenails, hoping that life doesn’t fling me in circles too hard! Things are finally slowing down and – though I still don’t have the time to write a daily blog – I’m hoping to find the time to come back and write as time allows.
Which leads me to today’s blog.
Some days I feel like a character in a sit-com. Bizarre things – unimaginably silly things – seem to happen to me and mine. It happens so often that I sometimes feel like I’m being featured on Ahston Kutcher’s Punk’d.
On Friday morning, I said goodbye to my kids as they went off to their respective schools and I settled in for a busy day ahead. I’d barely begun to get organized when the phone rang. The Caller ID identified it as belonging to my son’s school, so my mind began to spin with all sorts of awful scenarios. Breathless, I answered the phone.
“Hello?” I answered.
No reply – just some background noise and what sounded like an adult in the distance saying, “Go ahead. You can talk.”
“Hello?” I repeated.
“Hello? Braden?” I said just a little louder.
“Mom,” came a barely audible voice. “Mom…(hiccup)…I left my (barely concealed sob) lunch at home.”
It was my Braden. Sweet, sensitive, 8-year old Braden. He doesn’t normally take his lunch to school, but he’d been talking about doing so for the last several days. I hadn’t realized that he’d intended to take it on this particular day – and I hadn’t pack anything for him – so he must’ve taken the initiative to make it for himself.
“That’s okay, Baby,” I said. “You don’t need to cry. I can bring it to you. Where’d you leave it?”
“I don’t know!” the child wailed.
By this point he was trying so hard not to cry that his voice was barely above a whisper. My heart just ached! My poor boy was so sad! Was taking his lunch to school that important to him? Didn’t he know I’d bring it to him?
“Hey Buddy,” I said. “Stop crying…it’s okay. I’ll bring it to you, okay? I’ll find it and bring it to you in time for lunch. Okay?”
“Okay,” he said a bit lighter. “Thanks, Mom.”
“You bet. Now go to class and I’ll bring it to the office for you to pick up. I love you, sweetheart.”
“Love you, too,” he said and then handed the phone over to the school’s secretary who confirmed for me what time the 2nd graders took lunch.
I hung up the phone and then went in search of the lunch that Braden had packed. Sure enough, there it was – on the bar in the kitchen. Inside was a sloppily made peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and 2 cups of mandarin oranges. Not much of a lunch, but he’d packed it himself and it was obviously important to him. I was determined to get it to him in time – and add to it to brighten his day a little bit.
As the morning hours ticked down to the time I needed to drop Braden’s lunch off, I began to brainstorm on what I could add to his lunch. I soon realized I had nothing in the house and would need to make a quick run to Target. As I passed the local McDonald’s on route to Target, I had a great idea: Braden’s lunch was so pathetic that I’d surprise him with a Chicken McNugget Happy Meal. I’d keep his packed lunch in there in case he really wanted it, but I’d get him some Chicken McNuggets to surprise him…and through the drive-thru I went.
At 11:25, I arrived at school with 5 minutes to spare before the 2nd graders headed to lunch. I stopped in the office to sign the visitor’s register and say hello to the secretaries.
As I greeted the secretaries, Sally said to me “That poor by was so upset this morning! I’m so glad he was able to talk to you. He just brightened up when he heard your voice and you said you’d bring his lunch.” This sparked a short conversation about how upset (and then relieved) he was, and how surprised I was to hear that he’d even planned to take his lunch.
A few moments later as I finished signing the register, Sally said (pointing to the lunch I’d brought in), “Now whose lunch is this?”
“That’s Braden’s,” I responded.
Sally looked at me in confusion. “Braden already came to pick up his lunch. His grandmother dropped it off shortly after he talked to you on the phone.”
“My Braden?” I asked.
“Well…I think so,” Sally said. “It was the same child who called you crying this morning. His grandmother dropped it off only about a half hour after he talked to you.”
“Can’t be my Braden,” I said. “My Braden’s grandmother lives in Oklahoma.”
Silence. We both stared at each other in complete bewilderment.
“Well,” Sally began, “someone came in and said she was Braden’s grandmother and dropped off his lunch. Karin (the other secretary) paged him to come down and he picked it up just a little bit ago.”
“My Braden?” I asked, nearly speechless.
“I think so,” she responded. “Karin,” she said as she turned to the other secretary, “Braden came down to pick up his lunch, right? After his grandmother came in and dropped it off?”
“Yes,” Karin confirmed. “I paged his classroom and his teacher sent him down.”
This was getting weirder by the second! I was determined to get to the bottom of this, so I set off for Braden’s classroom. By this point, nothing could shock me, so it was no surprise to see that Braden was confused by my presence.
“What are you doing here?” Braden asked.
“I brought your lunch. You called me this morning and said you left it at home, so I brought it but also added a surprise to it for you,” I responded.
“What? I’m confused. I didn’t call you.”
“Huh? You called me and said you forgot your lunch. You were in tears and asked me to bring it. I found it on the bar in the kitchen and brought it to you, but it looked so unappetizing that I stopped by McDonalds to surprise you with a Happy Meal instead.”
“You brought me McDonalds?!” he replied with obvious excitement! “Thanks, Mom!!! But I didn’t call you…can I still have it?”
What in the world was going on here? My Braden didn’t call me, but my Braden had packed a lunch. My head was beginning to spin and I could swear I heard the Twilight Zone music playing in my head.
I left Braden with his lunch and he marched happily off to the cafeteria with his classmates. But I still didn’t know what was going on! Who had called me? Was there a Braden out there upset that his mom had failed him? I’d told somebody’s Braden that I would bring his lunch to him; was that Braden going to lunch right now without having received it from his mother?
I returned to the office where the secretaries had finally sorted out the confusion. Braden did call me that morning, but it wasn’t my Braden. It was another 2nd grade Braden. When he approached the secretaries and was overwhelmed by what had happened, they had a hard time getting any other information from him than his first name. In an attempt to get his last name, Sally had asked “Braden A___?” The little boy (Braden H___) was so upset that he just responded affirmatively, which led the school secretaries – who knew me and knew that I had a son named Braden, but had probably never seen us together – to call me.
From my end, the Braden on the phone was so upset that I just assumed that it was my Braden. And Braden H___, in his moment of panic, apparently didn’t notice that I didn’t sound like his mother because he was totally convinced that he’d spoken to his mother. In the meantime, Braden H___’s grandmother realized his lunch was at home and brought it in, and my Braden had packed a lunch the previous night with the intention of bringing it to school but had changed his mind, leaving me to find a half-packed lunch on the bar.
Sometimes it’s funny how all the planets can align just perfectly and bring around such confusion and chaos!
- Two Bradens.
- Two packed lunches, one forgotten intentionally.
- A phone call where neither side realizes they’re not talking to the person they think they’re talking to.
Thank goodness for the grandmother who realized that her grandson (Braden H___ ) forgot his lunch.
Such is my life. I wonder what tomorrow will bring…?