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Note to self: A scattered parent keeps track of her life, thanks to the phone company
Note to self: A scattered parent keeps track of her life, thanks to the phone company

"Mom, how come you weren't on the field trip today?" my son asked, one part brave, one part plaintive. "You were supposed to chaperone." Why, indeed? I'd long ago ditched the whole 9-to-5 slog to be able to take advantage of just such occasions. I'd won out in the parental chaperone lottery. I'd marked my calendar. And still, I'd forgotten. As I apologized to my son, I wasn't sure who was more crushed. From the beginning, I've accepted — even embraced — my scattershot, absent-minded parenting. Benign neglect, a time-honored tradition. It worked for my mom; it would work for me. Growing up in the land before cellphones, if...

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