The burly chauffeur carried each of her younger boys in one graceful arc from their car seats to the curb, as if he were placing eggs in a basket.
"The four Ambien. Henry was going hunting with some clients for five days, it was wheels-up at ten p.m. to Argentina, and he was crazed!"
"Jamie." Next, a voice I loved. My friend Kathryn Fitzgerald. She commuted from Tribeca and she was wearing jeans and French sneakers. Like me, she wasn't one of those people who grew up on the Upper East Side and never touched a doorknob in their entire life."Hurry. Let's plow up front."
As we started up the marble stairs, a white Cadillac Escalade pulled up to the curb.You could tell a hundred feet away that there were children of a major CEO inside. It came to a stop and the aristocratic driver,wearing a bowler hat like Oddjob, got out and walked around to open the door, and the four McAllister kids piled out of their SUV with four Philippina nannies–each holding a child's hand. All four of the nannies were wearing white pants, white rubbersoled shoes, and matching Dora the Explorer nurse's shirts with little Band-Aids all over them. There were so many little children and nurses in their tight little pack that they looked like a centipede making its way up the steps.
At five minutes after three, the school opened and the parents politely but forcefully pushed each other to get in. Up four flights of stairs to the gym, I could hear echoes of young male voices and the screech of sneakers. St. Henry's fourth-grade team was already out practicing in their royal-blue and white uniforms. I quickly scanned the court for my Dylan, but didn't see him.The moms and dads from Dylan's school were beginning to gather on one side of the bleachers.
Scattered among them were the team's siblings with their nannies, representing almost every country in the United Nations. No Dylan.
I finally spotted him huddled on a bench near the locker room door. He was still dressed in his khakis and white button-down shirt with the collar undone. His blue blazer was draped on the bench beside him. When he saw me, he squinted and looked away. My husband, Phillip, summoned the exact same expression when he was angry and feeling put upon.
"Dylan! I'm here!"
"You're late, Mom."
"Sweetheart, I'm not late."
"Well, some of the moms got here before you."
"You know what? There's a line outside, four moms deep, and I can't cut the line.There's a lot of moms still coming up behind me."
"Whatever." He looked away.
"Honey.Where's your uniform?"
"In my backpack."
I could feel the waves of stubborn tension emanating from my son.
I sat down next to him."It's time to put it on."
"I don't want to wear my uniform."
Coach Robertson came over."You know what?" He put his arms in the air, signaling his exasperation."I'm not gonna force him into it every time. I told him he would miss the game, but I can't make him put the uniform on. If you wanna know the reality of the situation here, he's being ridiculous ..."
"It's really not being ridiculous.Okay?" This guy was never in tune with Dylan. I brought the coach to the side. "We've all discussed this–Dylan's unease before a game. He's nine years old. It's his first year on a team." The coach didn't seem to be moved, and he took off.
Then I put my arm around Dylan. "Honey. Coach Robertson isn't my favorite person, but he's right. It's time to put on the uniform."
"He's doesn't even like me."