OK, so we left off at Sephora, right? Well, sort of. Actually. we left off running like the wind from Sephora, followed by Katie crying all the way home after breaking a mirror at the Laura Mercier counter on the way out of the mall. Good times, huh?
And what was that conversation that I told you we’d had in the car on the way home? Oh yes, me sounding very motherly as I rambled on about how no one is perfect. And what was it that I told Katie? Ah, yes. “Please understand that EVERYBODY makes mistakes. No one is immune from them. No one is perfect, honey. NO ONE. As long as we try our best, that’s all anyone can ask. And most importantly, that’s all we can ask of ourselves. OK?”
The next day, Luau and I went together to pick the girls up from school. Brooke had speech therapy, which is typically boring as all get out for Katie. Since Luau and I were both free, we decided to divide and conquer. Luau would drop Brooke off at speech and then go for a run. I would take Katie back to the mall so that I could actually find the eye shadow that I’d attempted to look for the day before. Then she and I would pick Brooke up at speech an hour later. The plan simply reeked of efficiency and precision. (Which usually foreshadows some sort of disaster in my world.)
Katie couldn’t have been happier to hear that she was headed to the mall. She didn’t have to sit through speech AND she got to go to Sephora with Mama ALONE. She was beaming.
We stopped off at the coffee shop for an iced latte. We bought a very pink, very sugary cookie. We casually perused the department store make-up counters, taking our sweet old time. We walked down to Sephora, slowly ambling up and down the aisles. She covered herself in glitter. She slathered on hot pink lip gloss even though she knew Mama would make her take it off IMMEDIATELY.
We tried perfumes. Some we loved; some we didn’t. We made up a scoring system. The lowest score was called ‘Smells suspiciously like bug spray.’ The highest was called, ‘Ooh, baby, tell Daddy I want this for Mother’s Day!’ We scoured the sale shelf for bargains. We tried creams and gels and powders. Almost as a side note, we found a fabulous eye shadow.
As I was paying, I looked down at my watch. And panicked. It was 4:25. We were supposed to pick up Brooke at 4:30. A minimum of ten minutes away. I had completely lost track of time.
For the second time in as many days, Katie and I high-tailed it out of Sephora. I nearly dragged her through the parking lot as we ran to the car. I was in a frenzy. I was angry at myself. I had completely forgotten to watch the clock. How the hell could I get so wrapped up with one kid that I virtually forgot about the other?
As we drove, I called the center and told the receptionist that we were running late. According to the clock, I had four more minutes. “I just wanted to let y’all know so that if she gets out and we’re not there, Miss Sara will be able to explain.”
“Oh,” said the receptionist, sounding confused, “she’s already out. She gets out at 4:20.”
I stuttered something – I have no idea what – and told her that I’d be there just as soon as I could. She assured me that Brooke was happily playing in the waiting area and that she’d keep an eye on her for me.
Luau had said 4:30. I was sure of it. But damn it, I should have known. I’m her mom. It’s my job to know this stuff. And to remember that I’m picking her up in the first place, for God’s sake.
“Mama, are you OK?” Katie asked from the back seat.
“Huh? Oh, yes, honey, I’m OK.”
“No you’re not.”
“I’m OK, honey, I just feel really badly that we lost track of time and I’m worried about Brooke.”
“Mama, it’s OK. Don’t cry.”
“I’m not crying, Katie. I’m OK.”
“The backs of your ears are red, Mama. That means you’re gonna cry.”
I didn’t say anything. I didn’t trust my voice not to prove her right.
“I think this is just like yesterday.”
“Huh? What do you mean, baby?”
“Yesterday, Mama. Don’t you remember what you told me when I broke the mirror? No one’s perfect Mama. No one. I know you’re gonna run in and hug her, but I’m just tellin’ ya, I’m sure she’s fine. No one’s perfect. OK?”
We arrived at the center at 4:34. We sprinted through the parking lot and burst through the door to find Miss Brooke spinning in the receptionist’s chair. She was not only no worse for the wear, she actually looked pretty darn happy.
I thanked the receptionist prefusely as I hugged my girl just a little too tight.
As we all walked out into the late afternoon together, Katie looked up at me with a crooked grin. “I told you, Mama.”
“Oh, sweetheart,” I said. “You sure did.”
Yeah, I’d say she got the message; wouldn’t you?