Our famliy is late!

We can't wait to see you ... we're just really disorganized

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By Susan Konig

We are never on time. If you have ever invited us anywhere, you know that is true. If you don't know us, take my word for it.

We can't help it. Even for church. We can plan and tell our three older kids to be ready for a certain Mass at a certain time and bundle the baby and get in the car but, no matter what, it has somehow already gotten past the time we were supposed to be there, and now we are late.

Then comes the debate about how to enter the church after Mass has started. My husband believes in walking down the center aisle toward an empty pew near the front. All six of us.

I, on the other hand, vote for waiting in the back until the congregation stands, and then, if there are seats on the side, sneaking quietly into them. This has been a constant argument in our marriage that would be a non-issue if we were only on time.

Seven minutes is an average. Sometimes we are 20 minutes late, sometimes only five, rarely on time. I think I can only count on one hand the number of times we've been early. In fact, people are so shocked if we show up on time or early that I don't like to do it because it throws everyone for a loop.

Most people know us and forgive our lateness into their plans. I read in an etiquette book that being late is considered a big insult that tells the person you've kept waiting that you don't value their friendship at all and that you believe their time is not worth anything.

That is simply not true for us. If we are meeting you somewhere to do something, we like you a lot and can't wait to see you. We are just disorganized, there are too many of us, some of us get in the car without shoes and there is a scene that holds us up:

"Where are your shoes?"
"Shoes, where are your shoes?"
"Oh, I couldn't find them."
"So you are going without shoes?"
"Are we getting out of the car?"
"No, we're going to the restaurant bring our food out tot he car. And then the movie theater staff will come and tell you the story of the movie so you don't have to go in and watch it."
"Oh, I didn't know we were going somewhere and getting out of the car."
"Always wear shoes! What if the car broke down and we had to walk for miles along the edge of the highway?"
"Well, don't you have your cell phone? What about AAA? Wouldn't they tow us?"

Scenes like this make us seven minutes late.
dress the baby and get him completely ready, bottles and food and change of clothes and blanket packed. I strap him into his car seat.

"Ewww, what's that smell? I'm going to barf! Is that the baby?"
"Argh, change him, Mom, quick! Open a window!"

So then the baby has to be hauled back int he house and changed. The dog gets out when the door opens, and two to three kids are jumping out of the car and running toward the ravine calling, "Cookie, Cookie! Come back! No, bad dog!"

I change the baby. The bad dog is corralled and brought back, the house is locked up again, but this time the baby doesn't want to go into his car seat. He revolts by tensing up his body like a plank and I swear no matter how hard I push on him, he will not go in until he is ready. Babies get a stubborn strength relative to an adult being able to lift a car over his head. I cajole him with a bottle and a cracker, and we are finally on our way.

Seven minutes late. CD

Susan Konig

Susan Konig is the author of I Wear the Maternity Pants in This Family (2007) and Why Animals Sleep So Close to the Road and Other Lies I Tell My Children (2006). Visit Konig's Web site at susankonig.com, and on Facebook at facebook.com/susankonig