Why I Need A Yellow School Bus In My Life

The days already feel long at 6:30 each morning.  Do you know what I’m saying?  In some ways I blame school lunches.  Maybe in a lot of ways I blame school lunches.  If I didn’t have to be involved in the school lunch dilemma, every single live long day of the week, life would be simpler.  Do you know that funny little way people define insanity….doing the same thing everyday and expecting a different result?  Yeah, that’s how I feel about packing my kids’ school lunches.  It does not matter the food selection, or lack there of, someone usually finds a reason to complain about something, and I always end up sounding like Bill Cosby stating brilliant truth like, “Well you should be grateful, because it’s better than dirt!”
Someone out there wants to tell me to let them make their own lunches, i.e.: my husband.  But he has lost all credibility on such matters after the whole, “Let Thomas pick out his own clothes for school” ridiculousness I agreed to a few weeks ago.  I didn’t realize until that afternoon that Thomas chose to wear his sister’s jeans.  You know, the ones with hearts on the back pockets.  Whatever man.

But nonetheless it’s true, they do need to take more responsibility, and we have experimented with this from time to time.  But inevitably my oldest takes over and starts writing notes to the other two kids and placing them in their lunch boxes, saying really endearing things like, “I miss you and love you and hope you are having a great day!” and then signs the notes, “Mommy”.  I’m not sure if she’s vying for my job, or if she’s trying to make me feel guilty, but either way it’s successful in making me uncomfortable.  So then I start making the lunches again and expecting attitudes to change, and we come full circle to what I have known for sometime now…that I’m insane.

But none of that is my point.

My point is, carpooling kids is hard and sometimes I resort to functioning on the same maturity level as my kindergartener.  Which isn’t a total depravity.  After all, he’s awesome.  Exhibit 5,892:

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One of my wise girlfriends whose kids ride the bus to and from school, can’t understand how in the world us carpooling mothers do this twice a day.  She’s so right, I can’t understand it either.  Thankfully, the mornings are a nonissue.  Attitudes are kept in check, we listen to an audio dramatic version of the Bible, we talk, we pray, I sip coffee, it’s all picture perfect and I come home patting myself on the back at what a wonderful mother I am.
But then I pick them up in the afternoon, and it’s all exactly like the morning, except 100% the complete opposite.

Do you know what I’m saying?

On Friday, Caroline was the first to enter the vehicle by slingshotting her backpack off her shoulder into the front seat and proclaiming, “Well it’s official, I can’t do anything right!”  Lord have mercy.  In defense of my kindergarten maturity level which I will get to in a moment, when my children loose their minds and start with these ridiculous emotional temper tantrums, I do try and begin with my best Momma Duggar voice I can muster up.  I very gently responded in tender tone, “Now Caroline, that’s silly, tell me what’s going on.”  That lasted for about two more sentences, and before her hysteria exploded through the sunroof, I was forced to holler, “Would you please calm the heck down already and breathe before I have to freak out on you!”
For the record, I have no idea what “freaking out on them” is going to look like, but they don’t either, and I’m pretty sure no one wants to find out.

About the time I am finally able to sedate Caroline with my words, her brother begins annoying her and everybody gets all riled up again.  And here’s the kicker, once those two get in the car, we must wait another 30 tortorous minutes in my tiny vehicle before big sister is released from middle school.  The car becomes a pressure cooker.  It’s all I can do to keep people alive inside, and when we are all just about at our limit, the third and most volatile of them all enters onto the scene.  This is just science people, a combustible reaction is going to occur despite my best efforts.  Science wins every time.

Ella climbs in and immediately begins complaining and bossing her siblings.  Though she doesn’t say it in plain words, most of my conversations on the way home with this child can be boiled down to one sentence, “Let me tell you all the ways you have failed me at homeschooling over the past two years.”  More or less, that seems to be the point she has for me at the end of each car ride home.  I’m only slightly exaggerating.  There are other things too though…Caroline won’t get out her seat, Thomas won’t stop talking, threats start being made, I’m talking like Momma Duggar but no one is listening to me, and finally this past Friday I blew and said the words I always said I would never say, “I am calling your Father and telling him on each one of you.”

And I did.

And he was in a meeting.

And he had me on speaker phone.

And after my ranting and tattling, after I heard a chuckle come from the background, my husband very calmly asked, “Could we talk about this when I get home tonight?”

Whatever man.

As I drove home in humiliation, God thought it would be funny to place this car in front of me on the road.  

And I am only a little bit ashamed to admit that I said to this vehicle’s rear side, “Why don’t you get a life already.”

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It was a low moment.

But it was Friday, so there was mercy in that.  And by the time we pulled into the garage, the children were all repenting of their sins and begging forgiveness.  I told Ella about 5 times I forgave her and it was fine.  She relentlessly continued, “I can tell you don’t really mean it by your body language, and Jesus says you have to forgive.”  Lord have mercy, carpooling is exhausting and I need a yellow bus to do this for me.  But these girls of mine who claim they can do nothing right, both had straight A’s on their report cards and I feel vindicated for two years of mediocre homeschooling.  I may choose to pin their report cards to my clothing for the next week like it’s my own purple heart, and force these kids of mine to salute me and show their respect for the wounds they inflicted on me through those homeschooling years.
It seems only fair.

Amy Heywood