My last post was about things I am thankful for. This one is about something I’m not thankful for. I am starting a new tradition (if it doesn’t already exist) that I will call the Post-Thanksgiving Bitch and Moan Fest. You in?
Because of the nature of the floating shifts at my wife’s part time job, I must often use pieces of my vacation time to take the kids to school and day care or pick them up. Picking them up is easy; you just show up and ask for your kid. You repeat the process until you have everybody you started the day with. Then you go home.
Dropping them off in the morning is a royal pain in the butt. Specifically, getting the kindergartener up, clothed, fed, and into the car in reasonable amount of time will be the death of me.
The kid is not a morning person. I get that. I’ll never forgive 7 a.m. for showing up uninvited day after day, and yet I get up every morning because it’s part of my job. Kindergarten is his job. On one level, he understands that, but that one level is the last to become conscious in the morning. The intervening levels complain that the light hurts their eyes. Hurt eyes make it difficult to go back to sleep.
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. He’s not buying it. It’s infuriating, how much like me he can be. I make him eat, which he does in tiny, protesting bites. I even set an example by choking down something myself, if I can find a moment between prodding him to eat and packing a lunch that he might nibble at before recess. His master plan is to build up his appetite for a big snack after school before pestering his parents to take him out to eat shrimp. It’s a bad plan.
Assuming we didn’t spend a half hour pouting over the lack of stylish clothes to wear to kindergarten, we will only be moderately late when it’s time for coats and shoes. Perhaps there is no five-year-old who can maintain a sense of urgency; there is none in my morning. When a dad says “Hurry up!” 100 times in the space of five minutes, you might think there’d be no time in between for a boy to be distracted by a piece of lint. There 99 such opportunities.
Finally delivering the boy to school, it is only a matter of dropping off his brother at day care and trying to escape before the little boy’s crying stabs the dagger of guilt into my heart. Feeling like I’ve already had a full day’s work, I head to my job to hunt with the other late-comers for a precious parking spot, because the university we work at doesn’t believe that all its daytime employees should be able to park there on the same day.
My eye stops twitching about an hour later.
This leads me full circle to something I am very thankful for: my wife, who conducts this process more often and with much more grace than I do.