The Horrors Of School Drop Off Line

I pulled up to the school and four quiet, smiling children formed a line. Then they took turns carefully climbing down from the vehicle.

Okay, it wasn’t exactly like that.

Or anything like that really.

No, this may be a new school year, but it is shaping up to be more of the same.

There was a lot of complaining, tattling and bickering on the drive to school this morning. A few tears were shed. A few jabs were thrown.

And oh how I wish I meant that last one verbally. But I meant physically. Real jabs were thrown.

My children argue over everything. And anything. They make up stuff up, just so they can debate the theoretic outcomes. And their opinions are never the same.

By the time we arrived at school, I was only hoping to keep the crazy contained to the car. Why should everyone else have to know just how insane my life really is?

Of course I always hope that the staff doesn’t hear me threatening to “come back there and make you wish that you had never been born.”

It is never my finest moment.

My vehicle has three rows of seats. The two kids in the back know that I couldn’t possibly reach them. And they also know that I am not going to stop the car in the middle of the school line to climb back there.

They know this because I have used the empty threat, that if they didn’t sit in their seats, until we were fully stopped, the crossing guard would be forced to arrest me.

(That’s right. I grabbed for the most authoritative figure that I could find. She does wear a uniform.)

And my kids know that I am not trying to get arrested by a crossing guard.

So this morning there was no order. No niceties. No common courtesy.

There was just me, trying to keep the crazy contained to the car.

But at some point, we had to open the car door. It was the only way that I could actually leave them at school.

And then the world got a glimpse of the chaos.


All four of my kids wanted to be the first out of the door.

In an effort to reduce arguments over who gets out of the car first, we rotate seating positions routinely.

So the person sitting by the door gets out first. Most of the time anyway. Unless one of the others can get a jump on him. Meaning jump over him. And yes, that has happened.

Regardless who makes it out first, there are still three children who have to get out as well. And now the car door is standing wide open.

The last three started jockeying for position. There was pulling. There was climbing. Cheap shots were taken, suck as jerking ones fully loaded backpack, all in an effort to make one lose their footing, and therefore fall to the floor.

Because a sibling on the floor makes for easy prey. A child on the floor is last out the door.

Somehow by the grace of God, a second child spilled from the vehicle. If he was lucky, he landed on his feet. I couldn’t tell for sure.

And then there were two.

Sometimes when there are two, the whole game changes. Sometimes it flips from: I’m getting out before you, to, there is no way I’m getting out of this car until after you.

And then we have a good old fashion stand off.

I don’t even notice the change. Not until someone shakes his head no. As in no, I’m not going anywhere.

And there we were, holding up the line.

My children are stubborn. So I knew at this point I had to get involved.

My earlier stance of turning a blind eye and hoping that somehow, someway everyone got out of the car without bloodshed, would no longer suffice.

It became clear that Crazy Mama would have to be the voice of reason.

I put on my best face, clinch my jaw and grab the two remaining children by their backpacks.

Crazy Mama told them that if they didn’t evacuate immediately, she was going walk around the vehicle, to opened door and embarrass them in ways that would scar them for the rest of their lives.

They knew at this point, I would even risk arrest from the crossing guard to get them out of the car.

Finally I saw the fear spread across their faces. They realized that I was still holding on to their backpacks. There was still time for a getaway. Now they were a team with a common goal.

They leapt from the door and scurried away without a single look back. They couldn’t be completely sure that I wasn’t following them. Time was of the essence.

Then they were gone. But they had left my passenger door standing wide open.

As I saw a teacher approaching to help with the door, I realized that I had to quickly switch from Crazy Mama, back to Got It All Together Mama.

Cool and composed.

By the time the teacher peered into the car, I was smiling a big, toothy grin. I waved and said:

Kids, you gotta love ‘em!

Then I thanked her ever so sweetly for helping with the door.

And yes, I knew that no one believed the charade. There was no way that she and every other breathing person within twenty feet of my car, hadn’t witnessed the brouhaha.

I smiled and waved as I pulled away. As a matter of fact I waved to all of the teachers and staff who lined the sidewalk.

I even waved at the crossing guard as I exited the lot.

And once I had lost sight of the school, I began to laugh.

Because those four nincompoops were their problem for the next seven hours.




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