The drive to get this motherhood thing right

Beware the dark scary high-wire act of motherhood that no one tells you about.

Until now.

That’s my job, reporting from the frontlines of a daily occurrence that was something in my pre-motherhood days I actually looked forward to.

I’m talking about — the school pick up.

Pre-mommy me thought this would be a daily highlight!

After all, the kids have been gone all day.

You missed them. They missed you. As they crawl in your car in front of the school, surely you would cue the Peaches n’ Herb song, “Reunited )and it feels so good)!”

Now scratch the needle across the 45 single, and yes, you’re old enough to know what one of those is.

The reality check is what gets in your car is a shadow of your kid.

They are tired. Hungry. Cranky.

And most of all — mute.

I used to go all out.

“Howwasyourdaydoyouhavealotofhomeworkhowdidyourtestgo?” and various other strung together questions would come pouring out of my mouth.

Followed by, “Youstillneedtowritethatthankyounotetoyourgrandparentsyoudidn’tmakeyourbedMollyinvitedyoutoherbirthdayparty.”

All this was met with a glassy-eyed non-responsive blob of kid rolling eyes in the passenger seat.

Maybe she doesn’t want me picking her up?

“That’s not it at all,” my friend Cyndi explained. “Picking them up makes them feel very secure. But at the end of the day — their tanks are empty.”

Cyndi’s way ahead of me on this motherhood track. She’s a really good mom, at that.

It’s like having Jane Goodall explain the primates and their peculiar ways to you.

“Sit still,” she advised.

“But, I — “

“Let them come to you,” she remained calm.


Of all the advice and tactics I didn’t want to hear.

I picked up my daughter and didn’t ask a single question.

The only information I offered up was what was for dinner, which seems to be as important a detail to kids as the answer to world peace.

What do you know?

Slowly, details started to leak out.

“We played a fun game in social studies,” she offered a few blocks from home.

“Really?” I bit my lip as to not ask a follow-up question.

“Two girls got in a fight in the cafeteria,” she shared once she had a snack in her.

By end of dinner I pretty much had a full rundown on the day.

That Cyndi, she’s a brilliant one.

“Don’t get too smug,” she warned me when I called to thank her.

“What do you mean? Thanks to you, I have this car ride home thing down!”

“In about two minutes she’ll be driving,” she explained, like a breaking news bulletin. “She’ll drive herself places, including home from school. those cranky car rides together —”


“They’ll soon seem like the good ol’ days.”

“What? Driving? Less time with her?”

I’m starting to panic already.

That’s the aspect of motherhood I’m not ready for at all.

I want to talk to my daughter about it.

But I know — just not right after I pick her up from school.

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