The sun rises, the sun sets, the car pool…. pools.
The taxes are due, the circle of life is complete and once again, I had reached the end of my mid-day reprieve.
Time to jump in the car and wrangle all the people.
Once again, Rachel got woken up from her nap, we both hopped in the car and OH GOSH.
The fuel indicator was on E. And that did not indicate “Exceptional.”
I had meant to stop by the gas station on the way home from drop off. Then I had meant to wake Rachel up early before we left for pickup.
In this journey of motherhood, I mean to do a lot of things. I know you feel me on this. As they say… “The road to motherhood is paved with good intentions” …or something like that.
I did a stunt-style drift into the gas station pump (In my mind the tires were squealing). I hopped out of the car and tried to insert my debit card but it just wouldn’t go in!
I tried to cram that thing in a million ways and started gesticulating wildly, wringing my hands over my head at the grumpy pump, which seemed to mock me from its glowing LCD screen.
The seconds ticked away and also saw the grumpy faces of my boys as their mom sat last in line.
“Miss… miss!” I heard from behind me.
I turned around and a fresh-faced young man in the gas station uniform came striding toward me.
“Hi. It looks like you may be having trouble inserting your card. I’m so sorry. Some of our card readers have been difficult lately. May I show you a trick to get it to go in easier?”
Right then and there, he could have told me he just discovered how to slice bread and I would have thought him the most clever person in the world.
He showed me how to jiggle the card this way and that– at the card slipped right in.
I finished the chore, glared at the gas pump and hopped in the Pathfinder to go pick up bros.
As predicted I was nearly last in line.
Josh, my hard-core routine kid started in on me first: “Mom, you’re usually middle of the line? Why are you last today?”
So I told him my story of the gas issue and mom forgetting. I was kind of feeling pretty darn sorry for myself and was hoping they would too. I told him how a nice man (young boy, really) helped mommy figure out the strange card reader.
After I finished my story, Josh piped up from his seat:
“Mom… did you thank the man?”
As I often do, I looked over my glasses and up into the rear view mirror so I could see Josh’s eyes from his carseat and I smiled a half-smile.
“Yes. I thanked him big time. I really appreciate you asking me.”
And that is the story of how I was parented by my own child in the carpool line.
And it felt really, really good.
I imagined one day my boys wearing a uniform of some sort and approaching a distraught mom late for the carpool line.
I thought about the mom who had raised that polite and helpful young man.
Thanks mom. You done real good.
An American humorist, writer and author. When boiling down the chicken soup of life, she finds those golden, fried nuggets of truth & writes them long after the kids go to bed.