Anyone else out there driving a teen or tween to either Eastlake High or Inglewood at an ungodly hour of the morning when one should be just turning on the coffee pot and shuffling around the house in what was worn to bed? The streets are clogged, jammed, stuffed with cars and SUV's, each vehicle holding one kid. I'm guilty.
When my Sophomore (pre-driving age) started at this year and asked if I'd drive him the first day, my heart melted. He asks so little of me these teenage days, besides making him food and giving him money. I said yes. I took him the next day too because he asked nicely and expected it and my heart melted at that too. I admit I miss the kid who used to cling to me, talk to me, show me love, talk to me. Did I mention he used to talk to me? Why wouldn't I give my only son the ride he asked for? Well, for one thing, it is busy as heck out there at 7, like trying to leave a Sounders game or a concert at the Gorge. Cars feed into Eastlake High School from every direction, bumper to bumper, waiting for lights to turn green, to get into that last lineup to drop off kids for their day at high school. Has it always been this busy? I don't know. Until my son got so important, he took the bus.
This year Eastlake High has a larger number of first timers, younger kids attending. It's the first time ninth grade has been hosted at the high school. I'm thinking mothers are hesitant, worried at first about how their child will do at the big school and more of us are driving. Am I right? When my child suggested one day he get a ride with a neighbor kid who has his license I clutched my heart and tried to say "how long has he been driving?" in a calm voice. Car pooling is a great idea but with the same kids who once used the potty seat in my bathroom? I can't think of these kids as drivers just yet.
Then I tried suggesting we pick up another friend along the way to reduce traffic but apparently that boy likes to get to the school seven minutes earlier than my son who needs that extra seven minutes of sleep DESPERATELY. I'm not sure why my kid can't go to bed a little earlier to accommodate this but I'm thinking I'll broach this subject in another week or two when my mom guilt has worn off and I'm sick of the bumper-to-bumper traffic every morning. Or find another teen and mom who leave at 7:07 for a car pool.
The thing is, if we're all going to drive our kids, here's what I propose. Try to pick up another body every so often to reduce the cars by half, keep one's cool as we wait patiently to get onto Wolf Pack Way, don't cut in unless you're endeavoring to avoid an accident and further ties-ups (and in that case, let that person cut in!) and take your first cuppa with you to reduce the horrific desperation to get through the darned line and race home. Smiling at each other would be nice, but let's face it, my smile muscles don't work properly until at least 8:45 when I walk my elementary age child to school and need to act pleasant, face to face.
In the meantime, see you out there on the road and if you recognize me in the dirty van with a glazed look in my eyes, wearing a red robe, hair not combed, sipping my first cup of coffee, don't expect much besides a pinched smile and the feeling that we're all in this together. It takes a village...