The car rider line is where you sit, breathe, catch up on an iBook, read the emails that have piled up from the day, or see what the newsfeed has to share. Oh look, more carpool moms waiting in endless car rider lines wasting their lives away JUST LIKE ME!
You learn to love fall and spring more than you ever knew you could. Otherwise you sit and BAKE in the beating down sun in summer, waiting out the rising heat until you feel the sweat dripping down your back and then decide it's time to turn on the car and get some A/C. Winter is where you wait out the chill until your fingers are too numb to text so you determine to turn on the car and run the heat...for just a few minutes at least. You don't want to waste too much gas afterall.
There I sat in the never-ending car rider line. I arrived in the "in between" zone - not too eager to be in the front of the pack but certainly not pulling up the end of the line. It was a beautiful cool breeze and plenty nice for open windows without over-heating. Thank You, Lord! It was time for me to just breathe and relax today. I'd been busy and on the run all day.
My phone started to buzz.
"I need help!" the text read.
I wasn't sure what was going on at first but after a series of rampant messages I was quickly feeling the pain of the mom at the other end.
Her child got in trouble at school. Again. She'd been notified by the school. Again.
"It's only the second week of school!" I could hear the desperation in her written word.
I could sense her fear, anxiety, frustration, oh yes, I knew it all. Even the embarrassment that follows knowing your kid wasn't the one who everyone would say was "such a joy in class.' Been there. Done that. Got the t-shirt. I may be well on my way to earning the trophy.
I shared in her pain, did my best to offer some advice, then put away my phone as it was now my anticipated turn to reach the front of the line.
"How was your day?" I exclaimed.
"Um...mom...I'm sorry but I didn't have a good day," he replied.
Don't lose your cool, don't lose your cool...I was trying to remember the cool breezes that had just been peacefully blowing through the windows. Reality check. This is real life.
Now I was that mom I had just been messaging. What on earth happened? Why couldn't he just be the kid who was "such a joy in class"??? Why was he, my child, the one who gets the note home from the teacher?
If I've learned anything in that car rider line it's been a little dose of patience. You have to wait your turn. Everyday I play a guessing game, wondering what time to show up and what place I'll get in line. It's the same guessing game as I wait to see what kind of day he had. The time I spend catching up on work or reading for my own personal enjoyment is not time wasted even though I feel like I'm at a standstill. It's a lot like how I feel right now about this impasse we're in. Somehow I'm waiting for time to pass and years to turn into maturity. Someday I will look back and WISH - just wish - for the opportunity to pick him up from school. Despite my desire now to "fix" whatever it is that is preventing him, my boy, from being the "good boy," I know one day I'll miss our rides home when I can try to teach him a lesson from the problem of the day. One day I won't be there to pick him up. One day he may drive himself off to college (heaven help us, it's going to be a very looooooong road to get him to college!).
As soon as I see my boy running toward the car, I'm not even mindful of the wait I just endured. The time passed is no longer a concern and who cares about my place in line. One day he'll be grown and the notes home will no longer be a concern. Right now in our world this is a big deal. One day there will be things that will be a much bigger deal.
The song comes to mind...
Your love never fails
It never gives up
It never runs out on me
Just as the love God has for us can never run out or give up, no matter how difficult we may make it, He still loves us. I know that love. As a parent, we learn to give that kind of love, even when we're disappointed, frustrated, embarrassed. You learn to love the small things more than you ever thought you could. Nothing is wasted. Every moment counts.
Any parent knows this is the place your patience is tested and tested over again. This is the place you breathe and pray. I don't have all the answers. But I'm not giving up.