By Zerline Hughes
This morning at 8:05 a.m., I woke up the kids in the car and told them they need to get me a cape and gold, bullet-proof cuff bracelets for my birthday in July. They knew what I was talking about. I remind them of the rewards I deserve often.
Today’s particular decree was because, due to extenuating circumstances (per usual), I had to brainstorm a Plan B to get my son from Washington, D.C. to Raleigh, North Carolina for his fourth annual karate tournament at the Body of Christ Center. (While explaining the story in brief to a fellow karate mom, she said us single moms have to have a Plan A through Z; she’s damned right!)
The original plan, Plan A, was for me to relax after teaching a Zumba class today – a rarity for this busy mom. But you already know that. You know that Saturdays are filled with Zumba, Girl Scouts, Karate, flag football, overnights, errands, fundraisers, volunteering … Shall I go on?
So … back to me being over-achieving super-single mom …
So the Js’ dad, who lives in New York was scheduled to be in D.C. by bus by 10pm, then midnight, and finally, no later than 2am, to take Jobe to his karate tournament in Carolina in my vehicle. It was gonna’ be some much-needed father-son time – four hours in the car from D.C. to Carolina – to talk, for the boy to sleep, and the first time dad was going to see the boy participate in the tournament he’s attended for four years. Studies show that showing an interest in your children’s activities leads to a successful future, according the Children’s Defense Fund. “Consistently praise your child’s achievements in school and extracurricular activities,” it states in its Promising Approaches document aimed at “changing the juvenile justice paradigm from punishment and incarceration as a first resort to prevention.”
Well … by the time 10 pm arrived and I learned dad was just leaving the Big Apple without any rest – and not on the bus as originally planned, I realized a Plan B would be needed: for me to be prepared to wake at 3:45 am and get on the road by 4 am. I knew a four-hour trip from NYC to DC, plus another immediate four-hour trip after picking up the boy from D.C. to NC for dad would turn into an 11-hour trip with him having to get rest periodically – or else it would be an unsafe drive and ride. But we didn’t have 11 hours to spare. He still got on the road, but by 3:30 am, he still had an hour or more to get to D.C. Plan B time.
So … I put on my cape, golden cuffs and whisked both kids away into my leer jet, also known as my week-old, cabbage-smelling Chevrolet crossover. (I planned a bridal shower last week featuring Caribbean stewed cabbage which leaked and smelled up the car – grossssss!).
Luckily, the car was already packed with all the kobudo karate weapons – the bow, the tonfa, and sai; a change of clothes, a few toiletries and various phone cords and chargers, because Plan A included loaning my car to dad after what was supposed to have been a restful bus ride.
The boy was supposed to be at the Body of Christ Dream Center-hosted tournament by 8 am (though the tournament didn’t officially start until 10 am) and we pulled into the parking lot by about 8:05 a.m. Crisis averted, thanks to supermom! (But sincere apologies to my 10am Zumba students; Over-achieving single-supermom isn’t that super!)
We were actually the first to arrive inside of the building from our Hyattsville dojo. Ha! So what did supermom do? She took Golden boy and girl to the Hampton Inn we stayed at three years in a row, and enjoyed their complementary guest breakfast. Hey – we were returning guests, right? The girl, however, was smart enough not to go in, nervous that the police would be called and we’d end up in stuck in Raleigh for stealing buffet breakfast. Teaching bad habits? Yeah, maybe; that’s no way to keep them out of the prison pipeline. But hey, we’re on a budget and I didn’t think it was that detrimental. The boy, however, was down for the cause, so we rushed in, got some tiny yogurts, bite size muffins, sausages, hot chocolate, boiled eggs, scrambled eggs and chowed down in the car. Nourishment: check!
So we’re here. The boy is about to compete in his weapons categories and I’m so proud.
And at press time, dad was in Richmond, Virginia, about two hours away, still making the effort to participate in this important event for the boy. And though the trip would be perfect if the boy placed second or first for the first time here – no pressure. He’s a winner already!
And so is his mom. I’m ready for my medal.
Stay tuned for the next in the over-achieving-single supermom chronicles – a mission to keep these kids out of the prison pipeline.