Racing the clockWritten by Shannon Szyperski | | email@example.com
I remember the morning rush of my school days fondly. I’m not sure why. In reality, it was a lot of frantic searching for (or finishing of) homework, last-minute permission slip signing, digging through mom’s change purse for enough silver coins to cover the $1.10 lunch fee and, as I recall, quite a bit of yelling and/or crying. Yes, those were the days.
And now they are the days again. This time, however, I am the pusher instead of the “pushee.” I am the one pushing to get breakfast eaten and teeth brushed and clothes on. I am the one pushing to get to the bus stop on time. I am the one who has to remember that every weekday is now a school day (yes, I kid you not, I sometimes almost forget).
This is not preschool; this is the big league. It’s no longer laughable to have the Szyperskis stumble into class last but not least almost every single morning.
As embarrassing as being consistently late to preschool was, there were always those rewarding mornings when one more minivan pulled into the parking lot after I had completed my drop off. Ha, ha — not last! A victory for the day.
In my defense, I grew up in a race-for-the-last-bell-before-school household. The way we readied the car and hopped in, we were like the Dukes of Hazzard or a NASCAR pit crew. In fact, we had a Buick Century station wagon that only started if we doused the engine in starter fluid prior to take off (I think we may have taken the term “starter fluid” too literally). Our little trick worked for quite awhile until that fateful morning one of us sprayed a little too much.
We were about half a mile into our mile trek to school before we realized that the car was on fire. No, seriously, it was on fire. We may have made it to school in the knick of time that morning had it not been for the small matter of waiting for the firefighters to remove some sort of flaming filter and stomp the fire out.
The big yellow bus doesn’t wait for emergencies — potty, fire or otherwise. It’s “be there or you’re on your own.” Fortunately, I have two constraints that should keep me from reverting to the tardiness of my younger years and my son’s preschool days. No. 1 is that my son loves the bus. Any missing of the bus would only take away from his enjoyment of kindergarten, and I couldn’t have that on my conscience. No. 2 is that we now only have one car.
I already forgot constraint number two on day number two. As my little man rode off on the bus to his second day of kindergarten, I noticed he wasn’t wearing his all-important bus tag letting everyone know who he is and where he is supposed to be. “I must beat the bus to school!” I thought, and took off running back into the house.
In less than five minutes I had the bus tag, my purse my car keys and a fully dressed little sister in tow and was back outside staring at an empty driveway.
Back in the house once again, I called my mom to see if she’d like to partake in one more frenzied mother/grandmother-to-the-rescue operation for old times’ sake. She really didn’t have a choice considering my “I forgot to send Jack’s bus tag with him” came out in an unexpected sob.
Yes, I might as well have been 10 years old again telling her I forgot my trumpet on band day. It was my mom to the rescue just like the good old days.
I am hoping to improve upon our family legacy of tardiness, forgotten band instruments and IOU lunches. So far, so good. We haven’t missed the bus; the papers have all been signed, and there hasn’t been even a hint of yelling or crying (barring my own during the bus tag affair).
Of course, because I only have one kid in school instead of four, I don’t have to worry about lunches yet, and it’s only been two weeks.
Still, I’m keeping my expectations high and my fingers crossed.
Shannon Szyperski and her husband Michael are raising two children in Sylvania. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.