I hit a low as a mom the other day. I let Brendan down in a big way. And the pain of that hit me so hard, it took me a couple of days to recover.
I know I'm not perfect. I was never under that illusion. And I know my kids know I'm not perfect. I get angry, I make mistakes. But I think this may have been the first time that one of them was really counting on me and I blew it.
Brendan went to the overnight basketball camp at Spring Arbor University last week. Josh took him over there on Sunday afternoon for check in. It was hard letting him go. He didn't know anyone else there and he would be staying overnight until Thursday. He had a key to his room and had to keep track of that. There was a lot more freedom and responsibilty than he's had before.
Check-in did not go entirely smoothly. I feel the need to explain some things, while at the same time not excusing what happened. I sent the registration in for the camp, along with the deposit money, at the beginning of May. We never received any confirmation that he was signed up so I called last week and was told yes, they had his name down. We looked on-line to see where they needed to go to check-in and the only thing we could find was a map on the brochure on-line that had the fieldhouse circled so Josh took him there. He called me at 3:20 (check-in was from 3-5) and said there were tables set up but no one was there. I looked on-line again and could find no other information. He decided to drive around and saw people going in one of the dorms. Sure enough, that was where they needed to be.
Monday night, we went over to see one of the games. It had said on-line that parents could visit the camp at any time and that there would also be an awards ceremony at the end of camp. The only thing on the brochure said that check-out was at 1:00 pm on Thursday. I asked Brendan that night if they had said anything about the awards ceremony and he said no. I went over to a table that had schedules posted on it and it said camp ended at 12:00 on Thursday. I wondered if the awards ceremony would be then but also thought that was lunch time so I figured they'd eat lunch and then come back for the awards and check-out. Since it wasn't explicitly stated that way, I thought I should ask someone. But I didn't. When we were leaving, Josh told Brendan he'd come back Wednesday to watch him play so I thought I'd have Josh ask someone then. But I didn't.
Thursday morning came and I was really looking forward to getting Brendan and bringing him home. I wondered if I should go over early to see what was going on, just in case the awards program was early, but I also had the other kids with me and convinced myself that it would be at 1:00 because that was the only information that had been sent home.
I don't think I'd make a good mystery writer because I'm pretty sure you can see where this is going.
I loaded up the kids around 12:40 on Thursday and drove to Spring Arbor. I went to the fieldhouse first and no one was there. Then I realized that I didn't know what dorm he was in. I called Josh and figured out where it was after driving for a few minutes. I walked in the dorm with just my keys and the kids and realized I didn't know what room he was in. We walked through some halls and finally I found someone to ask and they pointed us to the third floor. I saw someone coming out of a room and asked if he knew where Brendan Hall was and he said, "Oh, Brendan, here she is." Brendan came out with his eyes a little red and just said, "Where were you? You missed the awards." He was one of the last ones to get picked up and had been waiting for about an hour. The awards had been at noon and then the campers were free to leave - there was no lunch that day.
Can you say "ouch"? My heart still hurts a little thinking about it.
I apologized and explained to him how I had been trying to find him and how I had thought the awards were at 1:00. He got over it pretty quick - I think he was just relieved that someone was finally there to pick him up and take him home. It's taken me a couple days to process it and be able to think about without tears. I think what really hurts is knowing that is just the first of many times that I will disappoint him. That even with all my good intentions, there are times I will just screw up and hurt him.
He seems to have recovered with no major scars. He had a great time at camp and talks about it all the time and just casually mentions that I was late picking him up. I cringe but I'm working on it. I realized two days later that as I was walking the dorm looking for him, there were two young boys sitting there waiting for their ride. So I wasn't the only one who didn't get there for the awards. That helped a little.
I want to tell my kids that they can always count on me but there are times when that isn't true. I don't want it to be like that and I will do my best to be there (next time I will ask questions) but I am human and I make mistakes. Now I get to teach them about grace and forgiveness and also about One who they can always count on. I guess that lesson is worth the pain.