The unmistakable sound of the school bus was the last thing I wanted to hear this morning, especially after my repeated requests for Griffen to stop piddling and get ready, but we both recognized it as it roared past our house. He insisted that we could catch it at the next stop, so we hurried in to my Jeep and carefully sped to its next stopping point, ten houses away. “I can see the lights!” he said, but by the time we reached the stop, the last one on the route, the bus was making the turn which would take it out of the neighborhood. It was right there, immediately in front of us, but there would be no more stopping, and I would be forced to follow it all the way to school, while my breakfast would sit on the counter.
I was aggravated…on the verge of crossing over in to angry territory. Kyndall, in bed with her newly broken foot and a 102-degree fever, would require a trip to the clinic. As I was the only parent at home it was my job to take her. In addition, I had a laundry list of things to fill my day, which included a trip to the laundry. The junior high, while not terribly far from our house, was a ten to fifteen minute drive each way, depending on traffic. Add in the time waiting in car line, and I would be losing a minimum of thirty minutes of my busy day.
I spent a good five minutes of the drive lecturing. Phrases like “Do you know how much I have to do today?” and “this is why you get dressed before you play games on your phone” flew out of my mouth with the greatest of ease. I was playing the part of the martyr quite well. I knew I would feel guilty after I dropped him off at school, but at that moment, the venting felt justified.
The drive became a quiet one, as I stewed and Griffen searched for some decent music on the radio. As we approached the school, Styx’s ‘Come Sail Away’, a favorite in our house, began to play. It was a sign. Griffen’s “Yes!” upon hearing the intro was met with my, “let’s take a detour.” He cranked up the volume, I turned in to the nearest neighborhood, and we began to sing…loudly. And we drummed…poorly. (It’s fairly safe if you do it on the steering wheel.) People were outside their houses on this busy school morning, and they were staring at us. And we didn’t care. Not even a little bit.
I continued down the longest, straightest neighborhood street I’ve ever seen, which is a good thing because that song goes on forever! When the road finally ended, we turned around and headed back in the opposite direction, just about the time the song took that weird, alien turn of events. And did we ever belt that part out! What had started as a frustrating day had turned into what will, for me at least, be a beautiful memory. It was very reminiscent of those middle school mornings when I encouraged him to miss the bus so I could have him all to myself…those precious minutes when we would talk about things that were important to a sixth grader, or when he would ask me to quiz him on classic rock. We got to know each other a little better during those short drives…and he got really good at identifying the bands from my teen years.
Just before getting out of the car this morning, he thanked me for not raising him on crappy music, like most people he knows. (Yes, I allow my kids to say crap. They can say bad ass too, but only if it is in reference to their mom.) 😉 I laughed, but I realized this would likely be a nice memory for him, too.
I drove home with a smile on my face. Yes, I still had a sick and injured kid who needed me. My “to-do” list had not gotten any shorter, but it all seemed a little less overwhelming. As I look over my list tonight, most of the items now have a little check mark beside them. I even found time to get a fro-yo and spend a little time with hop-along after her doctor visit. Life is incredibly busy, and sometimes it takes a missed bus, or even a broken bone, to refocus on what’s truly important. The next thing on tonight’s revised to-do list…a cut-throat game of Sorry. Who’s in?