Whether your child takes the bus, walks or is car-pooled, one thing is for sure: it can be chaos. Morning routines require precision, planning and a whole lot of energy. By 9am I'm generally looking up to the heavens and asking: "Are you seriously going to make me do this all over again tomorrow?"
When Potter began at a new school this year, it was all about learning a new routine. The morning wasn't so bad. There were some simple rules to follow: "1) Do not drop your child off before 8:30am (the doors are locked)." "2)Your child must be in school by 9am or they are considered late." "3)Use the side door for car riders." "4) The front doors are only for the buses, and of course for the parents who drop their child off after 9am and must sign them in late!"
I'm sure there are more rules, but those are the ones I can remember.
As for the afternoon pickup, well now, that's an entirely different monster all by itself. In the handbook it says the children will be dismissed at 3:15. The car line begins forming in the same place as the morning drop off. I thought leaving my home around 3:05 would give me plenty of time. Boy, was I wrong!
When I arrived at the school, there was no less than 25 cars in front of me. The line curled around the parking lot. Everyone seemed to know what they were doing except for me. By the time I picked my child up, it already felt like the next day. I now leave at 2:45 (yes, an entire half hour before my child is dismissed). Believe it or not, there are already parents there waiting in line. It's not like the school was handing out gold bars. We're just getting the same exact child back that we dropped off that morning. (Hopefully a bit brighter, but still, the same child).
To give you an idea of how exhausting this process has become to not only me, but to the many parents who sit that half hour bumper to bumper, I'd like to share a story.
So the wait was just about over. It was 3:15 last Friday afternoon. The children were beginning to be dismissed. I was about 6 cars back.
As the moderator began loading the children into the cars, the line began to move forward. I put my car in Drive and waited for the car in front of me to move....but, it never did. I was about to beep when I noticed the drivers seat was reclined. And that's when I got the uncontrollable giggles. Scooter was in the back seat wondering what the heck Mommy thought was so funny.
I could barely get out the words: "She fell asleep!" "Good Grief, I cried. Mommy Down!"
I quickly tried to compose myself as I waved down the moderator from my window. The swiftness at which this moderator glided across the parking lot to awaken Mommy Van Winkle showed me that this probably was not the first Mom to go down in a car line. She lightly tapped on the window. The look of shock on this woman's face said it all. She apparently hadn't taken a nap since she gave birth to her first child. She now squeezes in whatever shut-eye is possible during red lights, PTA Meetings and of course car lines.
Sometimes the greatest gifts life can give us will never be wrapped in a box. It will never come tied with a bow. It will simply be the offering of 10 minutes of complete silence. A cool breeze flowing through the window. The smell of evergreen air freshener lingering. And a reclined chair with a soft pillow to hold our head.
Sweet Dreams Mommies Everywhere!