Miss Nelson is Missing and She Has My Brain

Being a Mom is hard. There is so much stuff to remember, especially once they get into school. Special schedules, library days, and reading logs.


And I have never been much of a list maker. I used to make lists, but found that I’d just walk off without them, kind of defeating the purpose of making them in the first place.

I painted my kitchen door into a chalkboard, thinking I could note the important stuff there…hard to miss it when I have to walk right by it to get out the door, right?

No so much. It’s currently wishing my little a happy 7th birthday. But his birthday is the 18th.

Of January.


But the calendar works for me. I live and die by my work calendar, it stares at me all day. Judging me. If I put something there, I won’t miss it.

So in September, when the teacher sent the little home with a field trip permission slip to see a play in April I made a note in my calendar.

The kidlets were going to go see Miss Nelson is Missing. We love that book, and I think the experience of seeing players bring it to life will be fantastic.

It was going to be at the Waterville Opera House. Another bonus. It is a beautiful, historic venue, and I was pleased that Q’s first venture into a theater would be there.

When I returned the permission slip, I needed to enclose $3.00 for the cost of his ticket. That was kind of a pain in the ass. I never carry cash. I had to make a special trip to the store and pull cash back from my debit card.

Seems like too much information for this story, doesn’t it?

Bear with me, it’s all relevant. And I am not done.

The permission slip called for chaperones. Gimpylegs keep me from participating in a lot of Q’s events, so I was excited for a field trip that I could go to. So I signed on to volunteer.

But it was 2014. I couldn’t put in for the day off work until the calendar year rolled. So I made a note in my calendar on February 20th to put in for the time.

Over the Fall and Winter Q and I talked about the play. He loves history and was excited to explore the opera house. We read Miss Nelson several times. We don’t own it, so we had to check it out from the Books by Mail library program offered to the rural parts of Maine.

The 20th rolled around, and my faithful Outlook reminded me to put in for my day off. But I had failed to make note of the date…it just said April.

So I wrote the teacher a note. In very careful cursive, because my son has told me she thinks my handwriting is terrible. (It is.)

I asked her what date the field trip was planned, so I could get the time off work to chaperone.

She responded with a quick note of her own.

There is no field trip.


There is no Miss Nelson is Missing.

There is no opera house.

There was no $3.00 ticket.

There will be no chaperones.

There is nothing except for the brief note in my calendar to make clear to me that I have been working actively with a delusion for SIX GODDAMNED MONTHS.

I didn’t tell anyone. I was afraid. That might seem to be overkill to what may seem like a tiny mental hiccup, but there is my mother to think of. And her delusions. And the mental hospital. And the electro-shock therapy.

For me, there are no tiny mental blips.

I stayed quiet, and I stewed. Four days went by and I couldn’t shake it loose. What if what happened to my mother was starting to happen to me?

I finally called my primary care provider and left a long rambling message with her nurse. I thought I needed a referral to a therapist. I didn’t hear back from her; our phone is on the fritz.

On Friday, I finally told my husband.

He tried to make me feel better. He suggested it had been cancelled, and I had just missed the notice.

I knew better than that. I gave myriad reasons why that didn’t ring true, and he floundered in his efforts. He didn’t really have much to work with.

I had just presented the fact that for months I had worked around the very detailed reality of this thing that didn’t exist.

He gave me a hug and has asked me how I felt each day.

So when he called from work a few minutes ago, and blurted, “You’re not insane,” before even saying hello, I was cautious.

“That’s good news. What makes you say that?”

“Quinn’s teacher just called. She has been trying to call for a couple of days, but she has the old number. There is a field trip. You’re not crazy.”

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