I have two kids who are five years apart. You know what that means? Fifteen years in the school pickup line. I did the math without using the device my youngest insists is called a "cockulator," although I imagine that is a different device entirely. Right now, I'm 10 years into this 15-year sentence, and I have had valuable moments of self-discovery — some good, some bad, and some just downright comical. Here are nine things I've learned from a decade in the school pickup line:
- I can count on the kindness of parents, even when I desperately don't want it. So, no, random dad tapping on my window, I don't need help with anything. I was just crushing the high part in "Dream On," and you kinda killed my vibe.
- In a pinch, say when you totally forget about a parent-teacher conference you're supposed to attend, Cheeto dust can double as lipstick.
- Want to come off like a creep in the school pickup line? Inadvertently leave your back window open while cranking "Don't Stand So Close to Me."
- How to achieve peak "colorful old lady": Park car to unload class treats. CHECK. Get back in car to wait patiently. CHECK. Wonder why I don't remember buying cute sunglasses sitting on the dash. CHECK. Suddenly realize . . . this isn't my car. CHECK.
- I'm not above wearing my maternity jeans . . . to pick up my 11-year-old.
- My Lamaze breathing class finally paid off: See my angsty kid march toward the car, take a deep breath, and get ready to feign interest in the drama between Layla and Laila. And pretend to know the difference between the two Ellas.
- People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones: Hop out of my car, struggle with the glass doors at school while balancing trays of cupcakes, and glare at the cliché, bottle-blond, oversize-sunglasses-and-yoga-pants-wearing mom blocking my way. And realize I'm staring at my reflection.
- Other people can serve as real-life vision boards. I gape at "Aspirational Mom" mincing by in her heels, holding her briefcase and designer dog, as I stand by in sweatpants, holding a booster seat and a banana.
- The worrying never ends. Kid gets into car and blurts, "If we're bad, will our school execute us?" Did she mean "expel"? Or is sh*t going down at Circle Time that I need to know about?
Whether you're on your first or 15th year, the line is very much like the parenting journey: it can beat you down or lift you up. So let's lift, sisters, preferably with hugs and not honks.