Saturday morning rush hour
SATURDAY, July 3 – Wake up with a start at eight o’clock. The little kid is already sitting on the couch. I give him his breakfast, take the dog out, look high and low for his baseball stuff which miraculously reappears in the pile of clean laundry. Glad to already be on the road, just before nine o’clock, heading for the baseball field with everything intact and complete – a bit late, but okay. Then just as I’m nearing the field in Amstelveen, we discover that Eamonn’s baseball glove is missing. Damn it.
Don’t worry. ‘I’ll dash home – I can be back in a half-hour. You stay here for the warm-up.’ Back home I fix a sandwich, so he won’t be too hungry by the time the second game begins, grab the key to the other car (where the baseball glove is), arrange with my eldest to pick up his friend before dropping both of them off at the mall for a birthday party, and I’m off again.
Just as I’m approaching the baseball field, I realize that I’ve forgotten the glove for the second time. Cursing, I turn around, drive back to Amsterdam, figuring that I’m now going to be around ten minutes late for everything. Can’t be helped. The game is just about to start as I race onto the field with his glove. He’s crying as he comes out of the dugout.
‘You said you’d be back in a half-hour! I was worried because I thought something had happened to you.’
I sit down with him in the dugout, give him a hug, and make a good story out of how stupid I was – forgetting the glove for the second time – and then give him another hug and kiss away his tears, since giving in to his emotions would only make things worse. Besides, I don’t have the time. Sander has a party this afternoon. So off he goes, with a playful smack on his bottom. I’ll be back in forty-five minutes. Bye-bye, good luck. I’m off again.
Ten minutes behind is a lot. I keep telling myself: stay alert, don’t drive any faster than necessary. That’s asking for trouble. A red light is a red light.
Son and friend are already in the car. I shoot onto the highway and we put on U2 as loud as possible. To calm down.
After dropping them off at the party address, I head back to baseball field. The little guy is at bat when I get to the bleachers, panting slightly. He’s out. We toss the ball back and forth before the start of the second game. He’s his old self again. So am I, more or less. With a sigh of relief, I sit down alongside the other parents. It’s eleven-thirty and I realize that I haven’t had breakfast, let alone taken a shower.
‘Here, have a piece of ginger cake,’ says one of the mothers. ‘On second thought, have two!’ I give her a grateful glance. She’s divorced and she couldn’t help laughing at all my frantic to-ing and fro-ing this morning. Single parents have been through the mill themselves. I stretch my legs and get ready to enjoy the day.