The Pick Up


     It’s just after 3:00, and I’m standing there waiting out the calm before the storm with all the other over-extended moms in the neighborhood. We’re all just trying to catch our breaths before our wild and crazy offspring come bounding through the doors.  At any given moment, my peaceful conversations will become disjointed sentences, my ears will be abused by the roar of over-energized little voices, and my day without little people will come to a screeching halt.  There will be absolutely no warning sign, no flashing lights, or even a lousy heads up.  I blink my eyes for a millisecond, and BAM! Here they’ll all come like the running of the bulls. I’m talking about the madness of after school pick-up, which is typically the point of the day when my headache kicks straight into high gear and I set out to find my old trusty bottle of Tylenol.

        My daughter is almost always the first kid to come bursting through the school doors.  Her little face just lights right up when she finally spots me.  We hug, we shoot the shit for a bit, and then, without fail, the girl plops right down in the middle of the crowd and insists on pulling out every single one of her take-home papers from her damn backpack.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I very much want to see her work, but I’d prefer to not to do in the midst of a full-on stampede.  Besides, I’m still supposed to be keeping an eye out for my other little descendent to finally mosey on out of the building.

     When he finally does, he is equally excited to finally locate me in the huge mass of people.  He hugs me, dumps off his backpack, and heads straight to his favorite climbing tree.  After he releases his inner monkey, he eventually makes his way back over to me and jumps right into an attention-getting contest with his sister.  The instant she hears him trying to tell me something, she suddenly has something to say, as well. And this is where things typically get ugly. Both kids are trying to scream over each other, and nine times out of ten, they end up ready to duke it out right there on the sidewalk.  I do my best to “put on my listening ears” and give each one equal speaking time.  (And to be perfectly honest, half the time I don’t even know what the hell they’re talking about, because I get a half-ass story that makes no sense whatsoever.  But I just smile and nod my head and be the most interested audience member I can be.)

     And just when I think we can finally start off on the walk home, some kid or another comes up and tries to finagle a friggin’ play date with one of my kids.  I’m then subjected to whining and pleading and begging, all of which do nothing but unravel that last nerve of mine. Sometimes the play date happens to work out, and sometimes it doesn’t. And you can bet your ass that if it doesn’t work out, I then get to listen to a whole other barrage of bitching and moaning about it all being so unfair, when in actuality, what’s really unfair is that Mommy’s the one who needs a freaking play date with her own adult friends!

     When we finally make our way through the play date scheduling obstacle, I feel a slight urge to do a happy dance since it appears that we are surely now headed home.  However, this is precisely when one or both of my kids decide to announce that they have to go pee. Never mind that they have plenty of opportunities to go in school, and never mind the fact that we only live about four blocks from the school.  Neither of these matter, though, since they have set their bladders’ sights on pissing in the school bathrooms.  And I really don’t like having to go back into the school after the teachers have already kicked them out.  I know that the last thing they want to see after a long day of herding short people is a lolly-gagging kid, much less a lingering parent.  I usually just try to smile and keep it moving.  Eye on the prize.

     It’s nothing short of a miracle when at long last we set off on the path to home.  I’m so relieved to finally be away from all the craziness and have a chance to really talk to my kids about their day.  Well, I guess I should rephrase that and say TRY to talk to my kids about their day, since they can never remember what the hell they actually did all day. However frustrating their forgetfulness is though, it’s a very brief moment in my day when I get to sneak in a little hand holding action with my two favorite little beings, and I am reminded once again of just why I signed up for all this in the first place.


3 Responses

  1. And this very reason is why I was SO GLAD when my oldest was old enough to walk the 5 blocks home with the neighbor kids!

  2. you, my friend, are funny. great post. really liked it.

  3. Haha thankfully when the princess is school aged, I will only have to wait at the bus stop. The bus stop is half a block from my house. That really makes my day to know I get to avoid a stampede in a few years.

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