I've been on edge for the past few
weeks because of a bunch of changes and stressors in my life, one of which is the
fact that I now need to go to the school drop-off zone.
Cars are double-parked.
Others are honking, swerving and cutting off other drivers (who happen to be
the parents of their kids' friends). And the poor yard duty ladies directing
traffic? I don't think they're wearing those fluorescent vests as a fashion statement,
but because they're worried for their personal safety.
At the elementary
school, mothers absent-mindedly push strollers across the parking lot in the
rush to beat the bell. And at the middle school, it's even worse, with
teenagers looking down at their phones or showboating in front of their
friends. I've been driving my kids to two separate schools for the past month,
and I'm ready to tear my hair out.
Somehow, I've managed to avoid the
school drop-off area in my seven years as the mom of school-aged kids.
Actually, it wasn't an accident. We intentionally chose to live in a walkable,
urban neighborhood. We sent our children to public school just down the street.
When our older son graduated to the middle school a few miles away, we let him
ride his bike there. On the rare occasion that I drove my children to class,
I'd complain that it actually took more time to sit through the stoplight than
it would to walk there.
Despite the fact that I have to slug it through bumper-to-bumper traffic on the expressway, it's that last 500 feet that kill me.
But not anymore. While our house is
being remodeled for a few months, we are living with grandma half an hour away
from our schools, sports practices, playdates. I know plenty of people
commute — to work, to private schools — it's the American way of life, right? Door-to-door service. Drive-through chicken nuggets, coffee, pharmacies. Live a
little farther away to get a bigger home. Bigger, better, faster.
Despite the fact that I have to
slug it through bumper-to-bumper traffic on the expressway, it's that last 500
feet that kill me. It's the worrying that I'm going to run over an errant
toddler or that a hormone-addled tween will think it's a good idea to play
chicken with absent-minded minivan drivers. (Note: Always assume the drivers of
minivans are preoccupied.) And to the city construction crew that thought it
would be a good idea to re-pave a street near the middle school during the
first month of school: What were you doing all summer when the campus was deserted?
So yeah, I'm a little cranky.
know the families living in suburbia are old-hat at this. Maybe your schools
were built with spacious parking lots and you have a well-oiled machine of
traffic controllers? How do you survive the school drop-off?