Wish You Were Here: Hey Kids, Here’s What NOT to Do

photo: Shutterstock

I think if someone, anyone had sat me down before I had kids and given me the honest to goodness, ‘Hey man, this is going to be a shit ton of mother effing work’ talk, it wouldn’t have mattered. I wouldn’t have believed them.

Who would willingly sign up for wearing two different dress shoes to a formal event, or being covered in mac n’ cheese most of their waking hours, or perhaps perusing for an unconscionable amount of time that dreaded app we all lost our minds over mid-December, only to discover after much confusion, they’d downloaded (instead of Yik Yak) something called Yak Driver, (a tracking app for truckers).

Seriously, would it have killed one of those monochromatic mamas to be like,‘Hey honey, psst…you’re wearing two different colored shoes,’ or for the man at the hardware store to alert me that birdseed leftover from last winter might have all the makings of a Hitchcock movie if I left it sitting untouched for nine months.

Apparently the time to discover this was not, BTW, while my poor husband was trying desperately to decipher directions in Dutch for another fun toy some well-intentioned relative gifted our son, who in turn spent the better part of his afternoon ripping up pieces of (God help me and my Hoover) Styrofoam and throwing it around like confetti.

Birdseed, as it turns out, is not something that apparently keeps as well as Styrofoam, not that this necessarily deterred the hundreds upon hundreds of little black — were they maggots? termites? — from chowing down like it was a 24 grub hub but I guess a bug’s gotta do what a bug’s gotta do. Anyway, I was itching for days.

Finally I tossed it all out, all of it, which essentially meant I threw it on the front porch, where it’s likely still sitting, waiting for my husband to put it out of its misery, and we all know how the garbage removal went down. John Wayne, do you read me?

So ixnay on the buffet at the birdfeeder, which, in fairness, has definitely seen better days, and predominantly has served as some sort of circus attraction/challenge for the rodent population. (P.S. There is no such thing as ‘squirrel proof.’ They are masters, masters, let me tell you, in the art of breaking and entering. Truly, there exists no grander larceny.)

During the midst of all this maggot mayhem and Styrofoam slaughtering, I suddenly remembered my younger daughter had her COVID vaccine appointment and so out the door we flew with less than five minutes to spare, pulling less than squarely into the busy lot of (shall not be named) location. My parking job was the love child of a drunken sailor and ‘new driver, please be patient,’ at best — think straddling the white line, wheels set at a hard right and slightly up on the embankment. Hey kids, here’s what not to do.

We head into Pharmacy World and too bad I didn’t splurge for those easy passes because wait we will along with the throngs of other people who clearly suffer from the same affliction of actually just trying to get someone behind the counter to make eye contact with you.

“Hmm,” the pharmacist said when it was finally our turn. “I don’t seem to have an appointment in here for her …” He scrunches his face, adjusting his glasses. “What’s the name again?”

I spell my daughter’s name, once, twice, the third time so emphatically and with such drawn-out diction, it’s a wonder no one escorted me out of there because after waiting for what feels like forever but is really more like 15 minutes I discovered, “Yeah, you’re in the wrong line,” the pharmacist said, motioning to another 15 minutes easily of my life I will never get back.

And then Brinna called.

“I’m just taking this outside,” I say to my daughter who seems entirely oblivious thanks to her own mobile device.

“The cabinets,” Brinna sobbed. “They’re all … wrong!” she chokes back more tears as I pace the parking lot.

“Calm down,” I said, cursing myself for picking up the phone.

Brinna is one of those friends I want to feel sorry for, really I do, but every time I drive past her house, which is essentially like somebody took the set of Dallas, put it on a truck and plopped it smack square in the middle of Mamaroneck, I think really, how bad can it be?

Really bad, apparently, because hysteria didn’t begin to describe her current diatribe. “They’re white,” she sobbed. “Not ivory … not bone, which is exactly the color I picked out … it was literally called bone but they’re white! White!” She shrieked.

That was the moment my daughter emerged from Pharmacy World.

“Great job, mom. The appointment? It’s in Westport.”

So we drove … Even though it was too late; even though Brinna continued to sob uncontrollably (on speaker) about the whiteness of her ridiculously overpriced renovation like her kitchen has some sort of terminal illness; even after I discovered I left not only my daughter’s vaccine card but her insurance card behind… even then, we drove.

We drove and we drove and finally we got to Westport and I muted Brinna. (I have no idea actually if she’s still talking…)

“I’m such an idiot,” I told my daughter. “I’m so disorganized.” I wait for her to argue, to tell me that I’m not, that I’m being too hard on myself, that I’m such a great mom but she just shrugged, getting into line behind me. “Yeah. You really are … like horribly disorganized. But it’s okay, Mom. We all know it.”

I sighed, smiling at the pharmacist, who politely informed me our appointment was scheduled for tomorrow.

Columnist Lesley Kirschner grew up quiet, in the woods, and devoid of siblings so her hobbies quickly became reading, writing, and talking to inanimate objects. She also spent a considerable amount of time doing voice-overs for her dolls and watching too much daytime television–channel 3, sometimes channel 8, if the weather was good and the antenna wasn’t acting up. She was in attendance at school, graduated from a very much not notable college not worth mentioning, and was transplanted to Wilton with her husband, Ambler Farm‘s Farmer Jonathan and their (baby makes) three children almost a decade ago. Although she never quite found her calling in life, other than perhaps the doll voice-overs, which in hindsight were eerily convincing, she’s happy to try her hand at writing and is thankful for the support and community she found on Facebook’s Buy Nothing Wilton. Lesley realizes while this is all very exciting, she’s not winning a Pulitzer so she’ll wrap it up and be quiet. She’s had a lot of practice.


  1. I stumbled upon this article and it was so delightful to read! I look forward to more! I can relate more than I would like to admit:)

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