Over the summer when I was
dreading envisioning taking Greenleigh to school in the fall, I had this idyllic picture in my head of me loading up the car, driving the mile to school, dropping her off, and going about my day. The whole process would take 5 minutes at the absolute most, and be laced with “I love you’s” and well wishes for her day.
I. Was. So. Wrong. Because when I created that idyllic vision, I failed to take this into consideration:
The dreaded car rider drop off line at my daughter’s school. Cars stretched as far as the eye can see…way, way past that light colored mini van on the left side of the photo. And that flashing school zone sign off to the right? It’s only there to heckle us. I only wish I could do a cautious, but speedy, 15 miles per hour through this zone. Forget “I love you’s” and well wishes, by the time I hit the front of this line, I’m practically pushing her out the back passenger side door yelling “tuck and roll, Greenleigh, tuck and roll!”…much to the horror of the faculty members who are attempting to hold the door open for Greenleigh as she exits the car. This is also just about the time that Greenleigh realizes she has a problem with her (a) backpack, (b) lunch box, (c) shoes, or (d) all of the above, leaving her clinging to the door frame of my car shrieking, “No, Mommy! NOOOO!!! I need to fix my (a) backpack, (b) lunch box, (c) shoes, or (d) all of the above [pick anyone you’d like, as they’re all problems she created just before reaching the front of the line, ’cause perfect timing is her thing]!”.
It’s far from idyllic.
Don’t get me wrong, I always knew getting Greenleigh off to school before 8am would be tough. I absolutely loathe mornings. Can’t stand them. You’ll rarely hear me say “Good Morning!”, because, quite frankly, I find nothing “good” about it. Morning is a time when we should all be in bed resting. At the very least, we should still be in our own homes. And if you ask me, not much should occur before, say, 10am. Yes, that’s a much more reasonable hour. And I’ve done pretty much everything in my power to instill this in my children [read: pound it into their tiny little heads]. All along, knowing that school would eventually come along and destroy my hard work.
But this line? Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined how it would terrorize my mornings.
Prodding my exhausted children out of the house 30 minutes early only to watch the minutes – 20-25 of them to be exact – tick by on the clock as I sit in stand still traffic. Each day getting more and more frustrating as we leave earlier and earlier, only for the line to start further back. I’ve actually considered camping out at the gates as if it were a rock concert or store grand opening, because that might be the only way we ever get to school early…although I question how I’d explain that to social services when they inevitably show up. And weeks ago, I had never experienced that indescribable wave of relief that washes over me when I manage to squeak through the gates before they’re locked.
All of my mom friends said the car line would get better after the first week, but it really hasn’t.
The first six days of school they were rather relaxed with the rules. And I lost to the school drop off line every single one of those days. Not once did I make it through the gates by 8am. This Tuesday, with only 4 cars in front of me until we turned in the gates, I was locked out. I dragged all three kids into school, balancing the baby on my hip as I signed Greenleigh in at the ungodly – but late – hour of 8:03 am.
Yesterday was the first day I won. In and out before they locked the gates at 8am, but much to my dismay, there was no line when I left at 7:55am and the gates were still open. Seriously? I could have slept in and just driven right up, but no, I had to sit in a line for 25 minutes! Today, I made there in time, but in our haste to leave the house, Greenleigh’s backpack was left behind causing a major “clinging to the door frame” episode when she realized it. Whatever, I’m still giving myself half credit.
So, cross your fingers for me. If all goes well tomorrow, I might be able to even the score…for this week, at least.