All of my kids are going to be late to school today.
All of them.
My husband is going to be late for work, too. And I’m going to be late getting my peace and quiet, but it doesn’t matter. I don’t even care.
We are all going to be late because we are going to the post office at 9 am to hand in our passport applications. Have you ever applied for a passport? Have you ever applied for a passport for your kids? You all have to be there. Everyone. And both parents have to be there if you’re getting a passport for your kid who is under 16. Everyone needs their birth certificate. And their ugly 2”x2” passport photo (in which you are not allowed to smile.) You need a separate check for EACH person. And then another separate check for the fee to the post office. Each person needs a separate application filled out (in black ink, with no mistakes.) It doesn’t really sound like that big of a deal…but it is. Because with me are five kids who need passports, and one husband who we thought just needed a renewal, but actually needs to apply for a whole new passport. So that is a total of 6. Six applications (written in black ink with no mistakes). Six separate checks. Plus that one for the fees. Five birth certificates. 6 ugly pictures. PLUS, everyone has to be there.
I didn’t set out for my whole family to do the passport application process at a time that would interfere with school. In fact, we went yesterday AFTER school. My husband luckily had to do a work related thing in the area so he was able to scoot over to the post office to meet us. It was planned perfectly. I had the checks. I had the birth certificates. I had the applications (except the one that I messed up on and had to re-fill out when we were in there). I had it planned out like Ocean’s Eleven. Nothing could go wrong.
Until I picked my kids up from school.
It is a shit show right from the beginning. No one is on-board. There is only one team player in the car. Just one. Well, two, if you include me. Six people in the car, and only two team players. Everyone is complaining. Everyone HAS TO pee. No one wants to go to the stupid post office, to get their stupid passports. They all start getting mad at me, like I am the one who invented the detailed and annoying passport application process. And then… then… one, by one…they start turning on each other. Next thing I know…THEY. START. FIGHTING.
In my car.
On the way to the post office.
To get the passports.
With no warning, an (OPEN) can of iced tea goes whizzing from one side of the car to the other. A retaliatory open can goes whizzing back. There is iced tea EVERYWHERE. People are diving for cover. I’m flailing my arm behind me trying to whack somebody. People are climbing over seats demanding justice. There is talk of revenge. They’ve gone mad.
It’s like Animals Gone Wild…In. My. Car.
We get to the post office and everyone tumbles out of the car (literally tumbles). My shoulder has iced tea on it. Thankfully my husband is already there, and he is now being used as a human shield. And all I can think is, “I don’t give a rat’s fat fanny what is happening right now. We are going into that damn post office, and we are getting these damn passport applications turned in TODAY.”
So, in we go.
I’m filling out the new application for the one that I had messed up. At the same time as I’m demanding that this child apologize to that child. And that that child apologize back. At the same time as I’m telling another child to stop doing cartwheels. At the same time as I’m telling another child that, yes, she can keep the elastic band that she just found on the ground. At the same time as I’m telling another child that, no, I don’t know what we are doing for dinner and could we please talk about it later.
With the application filled out, me and my iced tea soaked shoulder gather my 5 unruly children, 7 checks, 6 applications (written in black ink with no mistakes), 5 birth certificates, 1 expired passport, and 1 husband and head to the line at the counter.
Where there is a sign that reads: “Passports Monday-Friday 9-2.
Three. Forty. Five.
We wait in the line anyways. When we get to the front I ask the person behind the desk (a young fella) if there is any way that the sign might be a joke. Or if it’s, like, totally for real.
It’s totes for real.
I want to ask him if he has kids.
I want to ask him if he knows what just went down in my car.
I want to ask him if he has any tips for getting sticky, sugary, iced tea out of all of the nooks and crannies of my car.
But I don’t. Because I don’t want to scare him.
Instead, I pack away my 7 checks, 6 applications (written in black ink with no mistakes), 5 birth certificates, 5 ugly passport photos, and 1 expired passport. I let the nice man behind the counter know that we will all be back at 9:00am sharp the next morning.
And THAT is why my 5 children will be late for school this morning. And my amazingly patient husband will be late for work. And I will be late getting to my peace and quiet.