| Sidekick |

The Eleventh Hour  

I try my best to keep things calm. My kids go for last-minute panic

Deadlines are my absolute favorite. There’s something about racing toward your goal, heart pumping in the final minutes allotted, that makes you feel alive.

You were hope to bring your A game, but at this point you’d settle for any game at all, because you’re running out of time and you need to do something.

To be fair, this penchant for procrastination only applies to my article writing. In my everyday life I actually do everything I can to avoid the last-minute rush. Not that it helps. My children seem to operate as if their lives were a “choose your own adventure” book and they choose Last-Minute Panic every single time.

When they have a week’s notice about an upcoming siyum in school, they consistently choose to wait until the night before to tell me that they had volunteered to bring a cake for their 20 classmates. I can only assume it’s because they love to live life on the edge, taking what could have been a simple errand or activity just 24 hours earlier and turning it into a stressful situation the whole family can participate in.

And I totally get it.

Who wants to take care of things in advance so they can be done efficiently and calmly when we have the option of adding a panic-induced temper tantrum to the mix?

My children seem to operate as if their lives were a “choose your own adventure” book and they choose Last-Minute Panic every single time

You should see how our morning routine goes.

I wake up early each day to ensure there’s enough time for everyone to do all the things they need to do to get ready for school in a calm, peaceful environment.

Spoiler alert: IT NEVER WORKS.

No matter how early I start waking up my boys, the Last-Minute-Loving Children (who are moving so slowly they might actually be moving backward) often decide that instead of getting dressed, now would be the perfect time to begin reading a book.

Other times, they may even put a single leg into their pants before beginning a riveting conversation among themselves. I visit their room every ten minutes or so to let them know that what they are doing is not considered “getting dressed” until finally I inform them in a voice slightly edged with hysteria that the bus will be arriving in four minutes.

Nobody is calm or peaceful at that point, I’ll tell you that.

But I’ve got to hand it to my kids — they’re on to something. Nothing wakes you up and energizes you for the day quite like the jolt of adrenaline that hits your bloodstream as you grab cereal in a bag, hope the knapsack in your hand is your own, and race down the steps to the waiting school bus outside your door.

I used to think that advance planning would make my life easier, but I’ve since discovered that when it comes to my children, planning in advance just means doing it twice.

My son had been begging for a toy guitar for months, and I bought it for him as a birthday present. Two weeks before his birthday it was already bought, wrapped, and waiting, and I was so proud that I wouldn’t be stuck running around breathless on the day of his birthday. Until he told me three days before B-Day that he had changed his mind and what he really wanted was an art set.

I also must admit that I’ve fallen into the Purim Costume Trap more than once. This happens when all of my boys decide with absolute certainty what they want to be for Purim on Rosh Chodesh Adar. I’ve learned my lesson though, and I no longer buy costumes that far in advance, since history has proven that there is a 100 percent chance they will change their minds 25 times before Taanis Esther. Now I wait until the last minute for their final decisions, and then I run to the store and hope they still have sizes left, because this is what it looks like when a mom has learned a life lesson.

My kids come by their loose definition of time honestly. I’m the type who needs to be at the gate an hour before boarding, so naturally I married someone who thinks a flight’s departure time is merely a suggestion. I remember an actual conversation that took place a few months ago when I called my husband as he was making his way home from a business trip.

“Hey, are you at the airport yet?” I asked.

“Almost,” he answered.

“What time is your flight?”

“5:00,” he said.

I looked at my watch.

“But it’s 4:59 right this minute.” I told him.

“I know,” he said, “but my flight is delayed 20 minutes so I’ll totally make it.”

So yes, it’s safe to say that my children come by their lack of concern for deadlines genetically so it’s not really their fault and I’m not quite done writing about it but my deadline is right this min—


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 825)

Oops! We could not locate your form.