The Car Rider

Here is a funny story for you.  Before moving to the great state of Texas, I had a cake walk when dealing with school pickup.  We lived right by the neighborhood schools and the kids would ride their bikes home or walk with another neighbor.  I can remember my friend AJ would discuss the ways she would cut in front of people in the lines and how she strategically would plan out her picking up her child. I would look at her crazy and be like, “Dude, are you serious?” and she would be like, “Yes, come with me so you can see!”  She literally had three alarms on and I am not exactly sure why she did this because she literally lives maybe five minutes from school.  She was like a predator looking for her prey.  She would scope out the entire street to see where she would cut in line and drive right on in the spot.  I am remember going with her one day and wondering what I would do if some big ole’ truck cut in line where I had been waiting at least thirty minutes or how I would react.  I was so embarrassed for her when she would scope out the scene before she would park her big ole’ truck in the relentless car line.  I wonder if the person she cut in front of would get out of their car and knock on her window.  No one did! Surprisingly, no one even budge anytime she would be the cut off queen. I am hiding in her truck wondering if someone saw me and thankful I literally live right down the road.  I never thought I would experience the car line horror until my baby began public school last year.  It was hell.  Exactly, how AJ , discussed. 

Mothers like me waiting in line for thirty minutes before their precious angels get out of school.  The first day I waited, book in hand, for the crazy car drivers.  To my surprise there were no cutters like AJ and I was definitely going to get out of my car if someone decided to cut in line.  It was like a race or award to see who was the first in line.  I cannot believe I am actually writing about this but, it is a thing.  The new mom who awaits her new child from starting school or the older mom waiting for the last baby.  I am her, never thought I would say that.  I literally time out my day to make sure and guarantee I am extra earlier and one of the first moms in the line.  I am no longer that late mom.  When Gabby came in two weeks ago, she was upset with me because she remembers always being the last kid to pick up.  Although, this doesn’t remind me of my experience but to her recollection she was always the last one.  I feel sad she feels that way because, now that I have it all together, better environment, better friends, and better life, my life is flowing easier.  I cannot imagine being the last to be picked up nor can I imagine the baby waiting for me.  Makes me a little sad.  So, the week, Gabby came into town she saw all the things I do in a day and remarked that she could not believe I was twenty minutes earlier waiting on Baby Lonnie.  I was thinking, baby girl, I am earlier because I have to drive thirty minutes home to get your other brother.  She won’t understand she only sees me getting the baby brother earlier and is a little jealous.  Life is completely different when she was in kindergarten.  My father was dying and I was on my last semester of college. 

Now, I am an entrepreneur with my own hours.  I don’t think she will understand until she has her own and I am sure she will be the car rider mom making sure her baby is picked up on time.  Why, am I on time now?  First off, Gabby should be my answer, right?  No, I am on time and showing up because it matters. The lady who awaits her child thirty minutes ahead of time has her roadmap figured out.  I didn’t have a roadmap and was doing what I thought felt good.  Right, lets rewind, I am now 23! Wow, to be young again.  I am being beat down emotionally and physically.  I am not taking care of myself.  Fast forward, 14 years later.  Me, emotionally well and physically well.  I do not think being on time was on my to do list 14 years ago.  I am sure, worrying how I would pay our mortgage and wondering when the call would come in that my dad had died was on my top priority.  My mindset and maturity were different.  Especially my environment.  My days are scheduled like my lesson plans were the weekend before the week had started.  Sketching in pickup is important as well as it should be.  I talk a lot about being present with your children.  It is so important to be present for each one.  They require so much attention.  Its ok they need to be taught how to love and how to ask for help when warranted.  They are important. 

The woman sitting in the car line may have had a really shitty day and that one person who is doing the same thing they do every day trying to cut in line because they are still working or they may not have the luxury of a nanny or physical presence created a whole new level of angry which is a choice.  Everything is a choice. I tell you this story because I would giggle when AJ’s alarm went off three- five times to get her prepared for her car line adventure.  The energy had never dawn on me until I waited in the car line for thirty minutes wondering what the hell I was doing?  Well, to your surprise there can be a lot of activity in the car line.  You can pray, you can read your book, you can catch up with your best friend to vomit your day on her, you can schedule your dinner or next five hours with the family, and you can be present and check in our yourself. 

Today, I will leave at the same time I do every day to wait in the car line for Little Lonnie.  I will talk to myself on my thirty minute drive to Austin and begin my rosary as I await Little Lonnie in my car to hear all about his day. Why?  Because I can and obviously, the 23 year old momma, Jillian, is feeling a little sadness that her little Gabby didn’t feel special when she was Lonnie’s age. That makes me sad.  But, I am glad she is able to express to me her thoughts and feelings.  Without that she may be resentful and do something because she was not able to express.  Next time you are in the car line think about all the mommas or daddys and what their environment/family may look like?  I do not think Gabby really knew what her environment looked or felt like back in the days when she was in kindergarten. I sheltered her way too much to be aware of what really was going on in her life.  I know I create an entire bubble that has recently popped for Little girl.  She has no idea how good she has it.  I am so lucky I made a conscious choice to choose life.  When you really begin to understand life things become a lot easier. 

Chronicles of the car line!