Today was my final drop off at the elementary school my four children have attended since 1998 and the era ended just as I imagined, with me shouting at my 10-year-old right before he exited the vehicle.
He was just trying to be festive on this second-to-last-day-of-school, plugging a cord into my iPhone to play his go-to song, Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.” And he wanted it loud. Really loud.
So the whole five-minute ride to school we went back-and-forth, turning the music up and then down, but as we approached a guard crossing a little girl running alongside her bike in front of our car, I snapped.
“Turn it down!” I barked, and he did, but I saw his face redden and eyes get glassy when he shot me a what-is-your-prolem kind of look.
We drove the last quarter-mile to school in uncomfortable silence, our two young neighbors sitting quietly in the back, and when they got out of the car, no one said anything.
Usually we joke as they all scramble out, dragging bulky backpacks and instruments over the seats, and I always say “Good-bye” and wish them a good day.
Not today. Today they got out quickly and quietly, my son giving me one last glare before he slammed the passenger door and started walking towards the school.
So what haven’t I learned in all these years living with young children? That they can be slow and get easily distracted? That staying on schedule is not a priority? That sometimes they just want to open the windows and play the music really loud?
You’d think, given the number of children I have and the amount of time I’ve spent with them, that I’d be more chill by now. That I’d recognize a kid just being a kid when he’s sitting right next to me.
I am reminded that being a mom never gets easier. You never get to the point where you know how to behave in any given situation with your kid and screw ups can occur when you least expect them.
I only hope that I avoid being a diva on their graduation and wedding days. That seems like a reasonable goal.
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