Windows: Breakfast in the Car| May 23, 2018
We are late!
We are not late.
How can we be late if there are three or four cars behind us? But actually, regretfully, we — and the cars behind us — are all late. The school gates are being closed by two burly security guards. A bad omen.
This means we’ll need to go through the front office, wait in line to procure the dreaded late slips to give to the teachers (making us even later), and it will be marked down in the register, and then in each of the children’s end-of-year reports, it will be recorded forever that today, we were late.
This also means that instead of simply dropping off the children outside school and driving off, I’ll need to find somewhere to park. I’ll need to maneuver the car into the space, take the stroller out of the car, unstrap the toddler, put her in the stroller, and walk with the children into the school. This is because a certain four-year-old does not like being dropped off even at the best of times, and makes it very clear that when we are late, it’s outrageous to expect him to go alone (apparently, his older brother doesn’t count).
Sigh. Why were we late again? Had Yossi found his other shoe five minutes earlier, had Leah decided to swap her apple for a pear ten minutes earlier, had Kalmy not spilled his cereal over his lap, necessitating a change of clothing....
Sigh. Because really, it’s none of these things. Deep down in a dark place that nurtures all forms of motherly guilt, I know it’s because I shouldn’t have pressed snooze. It’s so obvious it’s absurd. The fact is that things only start happening when Mommy gets up. Yes, they are all slowpokes, and if only they would try to speed up a little.... But alas, the real fault lieth in me.
In our school there’s a system in which the fathers take turns opening the car doors to let the children out as the cars approach the curb by the school gates. This saves time and eases the congestion on the narrow street.
Once, both my husband and his brother had their allotted turn on the same morning. Later that day, my husband related that they had found it amusing to see what goes on in other people’s cars in the morning. Tearful goodbyes, huge hugs (these take time, and the line of cars builds up behind), knapsacks being tossed out of windows after forgetful children, and cereal boxes on the car floor nestling together with a bottle of milk and disposable bowls and spoons. They thought this last one was hilarious. I, however, paused to ponder.
This morning, after being late for school, I drove on to playgroup to drop off my toddler. Since I hadn’t had time to give her breakfast before leaving the house (naturally), I’d brought along some dry cereal in a bowl as well as a bottle of milk, which I planned on giving her in the car once we arrived at playgroup. Of course, there was the usual traffic, followed by a set of temporary traffic lights, followed by a diversion of traffic, followed by getting a little lost along the detour, so that by the time we arrived at playgroup I was thoroughly unnerved.
(Excerpted from Family First, Issue 593)
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