Toilet Paper On My Shoe

I took my preschoolers for a walk today with their two preschool friends.

That made for four little monsters losing shoes and coats as they meandered willy-nilly down the sidewalk.

I swear, if adults walked like preschoolers and toddlers, we’d be stopped by the coppers in a hot minute and given a sobriety test.

“Pardon me, ma’am, but have you been drinking?”

“Why, no, Officer! What makes you ask?”

“Well, you’re moving like your pants are intermittently on fire, your arm fell out of your coat, you just wiped your nose on your friend’s back, and you’re putting pea gravel in your shirt.”

“Oh. Thank you for your concern.”

Amirite?

Anyway.

That was four small people out a’walkin’.

And do you know where I was?

If you guessed right there on the sidewalk with them, you’d be wrong.

I mean, you’d be right that that’s where I should have been, since I was taking them for a walk and all.

But you’d be wrong in thinking that I was where I should have been.

Because I was in my car, driving in the street next to them.

You guys, what I did totally made sense.

See, I needed to pick a big kid up from school, but first I had to drop the littles off down the street at my cousin’s house for our semi-regular Tuesday afternoon kid-swap. At the last minute, the kidlets asked if they could walk there. And I thought, Who am I to discourage exercise? That would be unwise, I tell you, and I try very, very hard not to be unwise on purpose.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to walk them down the street, walk myself back, grab my car, and be on time for school pick-up. And we all know that being on time is of unusual importance to me these days. I mean, really, being late is no longer an option due to the extraordinary humiliation risk it presents.

So what’s a mama to do when faced with a need to be on time and a desire to uphold my kids’ exercise efforts? Why, what a mama always does, of course – problem solve!

I jumped in my car. I rolled down my window. I made sure I could see every kid. And then I rolled slowly down the street while I yelled things to the sidewalk like, “STAY TOGETHER!” And “Kate’s coat is NOT A KLEENEX.” And “NOBODY IS A WINNER. This is NOT A RACE.” And “Sorry about that winner thing, guys. YOU ARE ALL WINNERS!”

You know – the usual.

And I was incredibly grateful that I live on a very short, very quiet, very lightly populated street because getting caught taking kids for a walk from my car would’ve undone all the work I just did to prevent lateness humiliation.

That’s when I saw a woman walking her dog, headed in my direction. And, by “walking her dog” I do not mean that she was in her car watching her dog walk down the sidewalk. I mean, she was on her own two feet walking with her dog.

And then I prayed this prayer,

Dear Jesus,
Please don’t let that woman be someone I know. Pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease.
Amen

And then I got close enough.

To recognize my kid’s physical education teacher.

And her dog.

Whom she was walking.

And I also got close enough for her to recognize me.

In my car.

Walking my kids.

The End

……….

P.S. “Toilet Paper On My Shoe” was the original title of this blog post because I got caught driving around town the other day with a llloooonnngggg piece of T.P. hanging out of my car door, not unlike coming out of a public restroom dragging T.P. on one’s shoe. Except more public. And all over town. I didn’t write that story, what with getting sidetracked by a different embarrassment altogether, but when I went to change the title of this post, I decided it’s rather perfect just the way it is. Ha!

The End.
Again.

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
29 comments
  1. I’m laughing so hard there are TEARS rolling down my face. WOW this is freaking hysterical, and I’ve so been there. Except maybe I’ve never driven around town with toilet paper hanging out of my car (rest assured, it will happen to me someday. This is not gloating).

    Once I pushed an empty stroller 2 km to the nearest store to buy 10 lbs of oranges for a pregnancy craving? That story gets lots of mileage in my house.

    Was it really the kids’ PE teacher? Or did you put that in for funny effect? =)

  2. I love, love, love the blog. This story reminds me of the time I made my 16 year old get out of the car and walk home. But I could not bring myself to actually “let” him walk so I followed him, in the car going 5 miles an hour. Until a police officer pulled me over for apparently stalking the young man. Yeah, that was an interesting conversation. I am not sure who got the best parenting lesson out of that one!

  3. And, apparently, I am SO OLD that I reference “late at night” when it is only 9:41 here on the West Coast. ah, well.

  4. I just keep picturing you yelling – from a car – at 4 preschoolers, “NOBODY IS A WINNER!” bahahahahahaha!

    I’m sitting here, silently cracking up, because the only time I can catch up on your blog is late at night when my kids are sleeping and I should be sleep, and God help me (ha! accidental reference to my own blog!) if I wake up that baby who hates sleep, lately. So, now you can picture me, whisper-giggling, leaning over my computer and then whisper-yelling, “NOBODY IS A WINNER!” Thanks for the laugh!

  5. I would say “thanks for the laugh”, but my stomach is hurting tonight so that’s not so good! However, it did improve my mood! 😉

    1. Ow – I don’t want to hurt the mama of new twins! Sending gentle, gentle love to you!

  6. OMGosh, I just woke the entire house because I was laughing to hard!!

    1. Hehe!

      Apologies to you house.

      x

  7. This whole episode makes perfect sense to me.

    1. Because it totally makes sense. 😉

  8. Thanks for a great laugh! What an awesome lesson for the kids to take responsibility for themselves and their friends. You gave them just enough freedom within the safety net that a great parent always weaves for their kids. Way to go!

    1. Hehehe. You and Roxanne are invited over every time I need to justify something. 😀 Love y’all SO MUCH.

  9. I am laughing so hard I can hardly type……….
    you are so awesome, Beth!

  10. Wait, wait, wait. Seriously, I think you’re ok here. You said it was their PE teacher right? So, even though *you* were driving, maybe it came off as you are just so super concerned that your children exercise that you allow them to walk the distance. Or maybe as a merciless taskmaster putting kids through their paces? Either way, probably the best possible person to witness such an act 🙂 So, I think you’re gold.

    1. I love justification times one thousand.

      THANK YOU, Roxanne!

  11. I believe this so strongly, that I plan to post this comment on your link from FB to this entry also…..

    As folks say here in New Orleans, “Yeah, you RITE!” –about the sobriety test and this: “You guys, what I did totally made sense.” I love it, and if you need an excuse filled out for the PE teacher, we got your back!

    1. YES! Can you mail me a whole stack of excuse notes, please? That would save me a LOT of grief! 😉

  12. So funny! That has brightened the start of my day no end! Thank you, Beth, for continuing to share all these hilarious stories and for telling them in such a priceless way. Also, toilet paper hanging out of a car? Hysterically funny 😀 Did you wave in a jaunty manner to the PE teacher? xxx

    1. I DID wave in a jaunty manner. How did you know? Greg asked if I stopped to explain what I was doing… nope! Just waved and smiled like it was perfectly normal! Ha.

      xoxo

  13. Awesome problem-solving. I mean, letting the kids exercise by walking AND being on time for school pick up??? That is major advance in mother efficiency. And you can always have a hat and some humongo sunglasses stashed in the car for when you spot someone you may know while out mothering…. It is a dangerous sport 😉

    1. I have just the hat! Excellent suggestion!

  14. I love everything you write. You make me laugh and make me feel better as a mom. I’m so glad I discovered you through a mutual Facebook friend. The late everyday for preschool post is one of my favorites. Thanks for all your posts. I wonder about the wonderful, funny man your husband must be. 🙂

    1. Kathleen! So nice of you to say so.

      Also – I love it when people ask about Greg because it gives me reasons to write about him. “Readers demand it, Babe; I’m helpless to resist.” Hehehe. Greg IS wonderful in many ways, but putting up with me is top of the list! 😉

  15. I’m a dad. I read everything you write. SO refreshing an funny! Thank you!

    1. I always get a little nervous when dads confess they hang out over here. It makes me want to run a search on all of the times I’ve said panties, and to also issue a blanket apology for referencing the mamas so consistently. Someday, if I’m very, very brave, I’ll ask for a dad roll call. ‘Til then, I’m very grateful you took the time to leave such a kind comment, Chris. I’m glad you’re here! There’s nothing (nothing) a writer likes better than to hear “I read everything you write.” I can live off of that for days. Thank you.

      1. Also – cool photography business!

  16. I just discovered your blog through a mutual facebook friend and everything you write makes me smile from ear to ear! As a mom, thank you for being honest about the hidden lunatic that arises from all of us when you have children. You are right! What we’re doing makes perfect sense!

    1. Hey – thanks for chiming in here!

      Next time my family rues my honesty, I shall quote you. 😉

      Also – beautiful event planning site linked through your name above. I was an event planner in a former life, so it was fun to take a peek!

      xo

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