I recently told someone that I was born 2 weeks late, and I’ve been running late ever since – but now I have it down to 20 minutes max. It was meant as a joke, and it got a laugh.
Sometimes things are funny because they are true. This week my youngest daughter shyly asked me “Mummy, I don’t mean to be rude, but why are you always late?” Children are effective at putting the mirror up for you. She is often the last child to be picked up from school. Not late enough to warrant a call to me, or to Children’s Aid, but tardy nonetheless.
So I pondered on my knack for being late, and I tried to explain it to her. It isn’t a matter of being disorganized. It is partly due to having a full schedule which includes squeezing in a school run at 3:25pm; and partly because I have no sense of time.
Ok, perhaps it is mostly because I have no sense of time. At 2:50pm, with the best of intentions, I’ll start a call, a task, an email. I’ll think it will take me 15 minutes – tops – and then have ample time to pack up and drive to school. Next time I look at the clock, it’s 3:15 and I’m flying out the door, praying for green lights.
My teenagers just nodded sagely when hearing what their little sister asked me. The more sassy one said “Yeah – we have the book on you Mum. You have to admit that when you say you’ll be there at 5:00, you are there at 5:10.”
I initially tempted to be rankled by her observation. Then I felt a wave of guilt. The sense that I was letting them down, or had done wrong somehow. But upon further reflection, my feelings quickly landed on acceptance. My children didn’t love me any less for my tardiness. Being late sometimes certainly hasn’t prevented me from achieving my goals, or living a full life. In the broader picture of issues and hindrances, being late isn’t a serious crime. At best, it’s a petty misdemeanor.
So I’ll try setting my clocks ahead a few minutes, and tame my ambitious impulse to fit in one more task before I have to leave for an appointment. And I’ll keep hoping for green lights, just to be safe.