CAUTION: I Brake For Heavenís Sake!
By Elizabeth Thompson
My husband and I spent weekends shopping around for our “starter home,” never expecting that the street in front of our new house would resemble a stock car race. Living those first few months as weekend warriors, the constant stream of weekday traffic didn’t make that much of a difference to our schedules. From as early as 6:00 a.m.– not to mention, when rush hour started at about 4:00 p.m. and running as late as 8:00 p.m. – we joined in the chase and continued our commute by train, leaving our cats behind to bear witness to the rat race unfolding right outside our front door.
It’s been 13 years – yes, we seem to be stuck in the “start” position – and four children later, it surprises me to say that we still live in the same house (although much smaller) and have become one of “those” people. You know, constantly behind the wheel of one of “those” multi-passenger-type vehicles, caught up in a carpool and having to drive…everywhere?
Except, we’re probably stuck in traffic and late…again!
It’s only gotten worse to the point where getting in and out of our driveway becomes an even riskier proposition escalated by snow, sleet or rain, that ultimately ends in a parking lot demolition derby of school buses, minivans and very large sport utility type vehicles. A large part of my day now consists of getting my kids – they’re currently attending 3 different schools – there on time and back, safely.
So, I have one big car rule that bears repeating every morning.
Then adjust my rear view mirror; apply some last minute lip gloss and yell.
My neighbor’s kid rolls his eyes, my daughters giggle and my son mechanically nods his head.
Talk about an inconvenient and badly timed moment – like shopping and trying to remember what exactly was on the grocery list you left on the kitchen table (or) compromising a left turn…especially in the state of New Jersey – my eyes sank to the dashboard and I groaned, realizing we’d probably be late…again.
My Grandmother passed away a few weeks prior and my four children and I weren’t dealing with it very well. We missed her. Not knowing my three other Grandparents, this was the first time I experienced a death in the family, not to mention the first time my four young children are dealing with even the thought of death.
Well, not counting the four fish burials under the dogwood in the front yard.
I’ve been told that I’ve been lucky. My parents were with me. My husband’s parents are with us. So, I’ve try to explain to my children that they’re lucky to have both sets of Grandparents very much involved in their every day lives. But, I doubt very much that anyone could have convinced me that there was anything good about loosing the only Grandmother I’ve ever known.
Phew…how about those Yankees and what’s up with the Giants!?!
Then, at precisely 9:07 a.m., the big one hits.
[…insert good old fashioned Catholic guilt, here]
My Little Man is inquisitive and pretty good at holding his own in an “adult” conversation, and I love that - his penchant for choosing the family car as the venue to discuss “those” meaning of life kind of stuff, not so much!
Do you smell smoke?
Little Man was looking out his window when he laid the next shockwave on me.
I have to be honest; I really don’t want to get into this right now. Not here. Not at 9:10 in the morning. Not without my coffee cup. Not after having nearly being broad-sided by a school bus and reprimanded by a crossing guard who I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that she’s is an ex-Navy Seal.
But, we should never give up an opportunity to talk “with” our children, right?
It smells as if there’s something smoldering, I swear!
I’m gob smacked!
My [then] four-year-old son expressed more faith in about seven minutes, than I have ever been able to for…well…years, really…but, I did make a mental note to look up the name of the person who came up with the quote…
…to see if he/she actually…you know…had children.
I manage to get us to school on time (and alive) turned the ignition off and faced my son.
Thank heaven for small favors.
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