I posted the above title and 8 words at 9:13 a.m. That was when I was feeling mean and petty after squabbling with Dan about grocery overspending. I know I was nasty and I regret that. Now it’s 9:38 a.m. and oh, my, what can occur in 25 minutes:
- Punch and I used to go to Starbucks before school once a week, for the warm bacon, egg and Gouda sandwich she loves. Ordering on the mobile app gets her out of the house, backpack slung over shoulders, like nothing else can. Carless, we haven’t been able to do it for a while. Today, on the last leg of a 24-hour Ford rental car, we had 125 Stars* in our bank for a free item. We got a second sandwich for finicky Punchy’s lunch. After she ran back to the car with our order, like a dutiful little carhop, she realized she didn’t have the sandwiches. We had to go around the block and park again. Strike 1. Our carefully calibrated school arrival time had been lost; now she would go in through the office and get a tardy slip.
- She knows the rules. Fourth grade is not a work office where people can bring in Starbucks drinks. So when she gets her tall Frappuccino before school, she drinks what she wants and I save the rest in the freezer for her. Strike 2. She smuggled it in in her backpack, straw and all, and denied that she was doing so, said it was on the floor in the back of car.
- If you do that, I’m going to follow you right into the office and get it from you, I said firmly. She did, so I did. Only problem was, I wasn’t used to this rental car and when I opened the door to race out, the car started rolling backwards in the parking lot. Strike 3. Thank God no one was parked behind me. I dodged into the Ford and put the gear shift in Park.
- I looked like a crazy ass, white faux fur hat, no makeup, watery blue eyes. Standing in the office insisting she give me the Starbucks drink. I wasn’t mean, just assertive. I finally had to tilt my head to the principal’s office and say, You don’t want to get other people involved. She unearthed the cup. Home run? Doubt it. But the nice man walking out with me—he had just brought his daughter or granddaughter in—was supportive. Was I mean or doing the right thing? I asked him. No, they act like adults and sometimes you have to pull the adult card. You were being a parent and that’s what you’re supposed to do. I thanked him. He had brown skin, I have white, but side by side and together, we can be our best.
*When you pay with the mobile app, you earn 2 Stars for every $1 spent; gift card purchases excluded toward Star accumulation. Every 125 Stars cn be redeemed for a free food or drink.