Not too long ago, Jennifer joined the Boys & Girls Club. It has been a great experience for her. Not only has it been a great relief for me that she has somewhere to go after school if I can’t pick her up in time but it is also a perfect place for her to connect with peers her age as she makes the transition into the teen years later this year. She now has friends there who have “been there, done that” and can help her through those turbulent years better. It also helps that it is a safe and positive environment for her to be in.
So, for most of the week, she goes to the Boys & Girls Club after school. The time I pick her up from there varies. When Jesse was playing soccer, I’d pick her up at different times depending on when his practices ended. Usually, though, she’ll suggest a time for me to pick her up.
Today, that time was at 5:30. I ended up leaving a little after 5:30, however, because Jesse was at a playdate today. So after I picked him up from his playdate, we went straight to the Boys & Girls Club to pick up Jennifer. I also had the little girl I babysit with me. I will call her “Leigh” in this blog post. (I don’t know yet how her mom feels about me including her real name in a public blog post.)
It was 5:40 when we arrived. Usually, if it’s after 5:30, Jennifer is at the main office instead of at the Teen Center. So we went to the main office to look for her. We were told she was still at the Teen Center. I debated whether or not to go look for her there, because sometimes if she’s not at the main office then she’s usually on her way there. We waited for a little while but after Jennifer did not show up I decided we would go to the Teen Center to find her. I told the secretary that maybe we would run into her on the way.
That’s not exactly what happened, because today was not a day everybody did things the same way as before.
Like with me. We took the long way to get to the Teen Center. The long way is the way all around the school building. Normally, I went through the school to get there, but since I figured Jennifer was on her way AND since Jennifer normally goes the long way to the main office, I thought maybe we’ll run into her this way.
But we didn’t. We got to the gated area where the Teen Center was only to discover that the gate was … LOCKED! ARGH!
I looked through the doors and noticed the lights were on. That meant there were people still in there.
We tried calling to someone but that didn’t work. Then the kids tried climbing the fence to open the gate (since it opened only from the other side) but THAT didn’t work, either. I thought about using a stick to tap on the window next to the door but we couldn’t find a strong stick. We did, however, find some stones, so we all took turns throwing stones at the window to get someone’s attention. No luck.
Leigh asked why we didn’t just turn around and go through the school building to get into the Teen Center. I said that if we did that, there was a chance that we would miss Jennifer if she came out and took the long way to the main office.
Leigh suggested she try going around to try the other gate that was across from us. I told her to go ahead. So she ran around the building to try the gate. Only to find that THAT one was locked, too!
However, I noticed a button near the gate to open the door for people in a wheelchair. I suggested she try pressing the button to open the door. She did and, thinking it would open, I was all, “Yes!”
The door DID NOT open!
Disheartened, I groaned, “No” as I lowered my fist. Then I angrily grabbed the bars of the fence and shook them in frustration, screaming, “AAAAHHHH!!!!”
Still, Leigh kept trying that button. I suggested she give up since it obviously didn’t work. She said maybe it would sound an alarm that the door needed to be opened for someone in a wheelchair. Or something like that!
On the door was a sticker reading, “CAUTION! AUTOMATIC DOOR!”
I saw this then grumbled, “Automatic door, my foot!”
Leigh must’ve seen this because she laughed.
Then I looked down at Jesse and an idea popped into my head. I suggested he go through the school building and come out the other door then open the gate to let us in. He agreed and took off running to do just that.
Then Jennifer appeared. She and her friend came through the door from the school building and saw each of us on either side of the hall.
She was like “Wha??!!” as she looked at me then “Wha??!!” as she looked at Leigh.
“Let us in!” I cried out, shaking the gate again.
Jen went into Kung Fu mode and kicked each gate open. We happily entered the hall and, at last! We were reunited!
What happened was, Jennifer had left the Teen Center around the time we had left the main office to come looking for her. And, of all times for her to do something differently and ME to do something differently, we each went in different directions! Good grief!
All was good, though. We were together now, except we were missing one person.
“Jesse went around to let us in!” I said.
We all swung around then ran through the doors to enter the school building. There was Jesse running towards us in the hall.
We laughed over the whole thing then the next thing I know, the four of them took off running to exit the building.
“What the…?” I wondered, watching them run off. Then I shrugged and said, “I guess we run!” And I took off with them.
The five of us were out of the building and, eventually, on our way back home.
I apologized to Leigh for the hold-up but she said that it was okay. It was really fun.
I think so, too.
My life can be crazy sometimes.