Most parents dread school mornings. They have to beg and plead, tug and threaten their teenagers into consciousness, going in and out of their nasty rooms shouting, “You’ve got 10 minutes … this is absolutely your final warning!”
Way back in the day before children were a reality, this was the side of parenting that worried me. What do you do if your child refuses to go to school? Tie them to the bumper of the station wagon and drag them, like Clark Griswold did with the family dog in “National Lampoon’s Vacation?”
But now I have no worries on that front. The Diva is generally up and fixing her face before I’ve poured my first cup of coffee. While she’s getting dressed, My Lovely Wife and I are yawning through “Days of Our Lives,” fast-forwarding through the Dulcolax commercials.
Come 7:05 a.m., that child is ready to leave, and woe unto if you’re not. “Mad Dog” Buzz Sawyer was a wallflower compared to The Diva running late.
She’s always been this way. Self-motivated, deliberate and driven — like a car without power steering. It’s one of the things that I love most about her.
She’s always made good grades and has never had to be bribed into doing her homework — unlike me, who once suggested I get paid for good grades, to which Mom answered, “Only if you pay me for bad ones.”
We’ve never struggled to get The Diva out of bed.
When The Diva was in elementary school, she’d get up — all by herself — at 5 a.m. to watch “Saved by the Bell.”
Even back then, the fear of being late for school elicited panic and terror —think Damien’s mother taking him to church in “The Omen,” only The Diva threatening to run to, rather than away from, her ultimate destination.
Normally, taking The Diva is My Lovely Wife’s job. Unfortunately, this past week, she’s been out of town and the job has fallen to me.
Here’s the problem: I’m almost preternaturally slow. If I were a superhero, my name would be PokeyMan.
It took a day before Mt. Diva erupted. We were running late. It was 7:12 a.m. Keep in mind, she doesn’t have to meet the bus until 7:40, but The Diva was already amped up and ready to go, sitting in the car, engine running, Jellybean strapped in and singing to a Taylor Swift mix CD.
That’s when I realized I had forgotten Jellybean’s Monster High lunchbox, which held her breakfast.
As I turned to sprint back to the house, The Diva screamed, “I AM GOING TO BE LATE! I CAN’T PUT UP WITH THIS ALL WEEK!” and stomped toward the front door.
Unable to resist poking the cobra with a stick, I grinned and said, “So I guess you’ve got your house key then?,” knowing that she didn’t.
I thought she was going to punch me in the throat. I saw the rage in her eyes. If she’d been that little girl in “Firestarter,” my face would’ve been melting. But since she can’t drive and knew that further tantrums would only make things worse, The Diva sat and fumed while awaiting my return.
She made the bus on time. But the next day, I made sure to pack the car the night before, reminding myself that, well, it could be worse.
Contact Brett Buckner at firstname.lastname@example.org.