Mornings and Traffic Cops

Every most mornings between 7:40 a.m. and 7:50 a.m. Kiddo and I exit our home, load into the car, and begin the morning traffic battle to get him to school on time. You’d think it would be routine by now and up until the moment I actually pull into traffic, it pretty much is.

I come home from taking Hubby to work, wake the boys up, get Kiddo his clothes and go down to make his breakfast and lunch. He gets dressed, comes downstairs, puts his socks and shoes on and eats his toast. With butter. It used to be toast with peanut butter but now it’s ‘just butter Mom.’ Sometimes I can talk him into cereal or oatmeal but mostly it’s toast with butter.

And every morning I ask, “Do you want milk or water to drink.” And he always says water. Sometimes, on very rare occasions, after the weekends when his stepsister is here, he chooses milk. And always when he does he forces himself to drink it and then we go a long time before he tries again.

Sometimes while he is eating his toast with butter he’ll ask me for certain things in his lunchbox. “Can I have a pickle today, Mom?”  Well, really, it’s “Wan piggle lunchbock please?” or some similar string of mostly pronounced words that means, “Can I have a pickle in my lunchbox today, Mom?”

And sometimes I’ll ask him about each thing I pack. What kind of sandwich? Chips or crackers? Other times I just pack what we have and unless he has it in his head he wants something specific, he never mentions it. And when I’m done, I hang his lunchbox on the door so we don’t forget it.

Because at this point I haven’t made coffee yet. Seriously. And we will forget it.

After his breakfast, he washes his hands and face and gets his backpack from the hook by the door and gets his lunchbox and stands there and says, “I’m ready.”

And we go.

We have been doing this morning drive 5 days a week for over two months now and I have to admit I still can’t get the timing down.  Sometimes I can leave at 7:40 and get him there by 8:05, which is when he should be there. But sometimes we get there before 8:00. Sometimes we leave at 7:50 and get there by 8:05! And sometimes, like this morning, we leave at 7:45 and he doesn’t get dropped off until 8:15.

I don’t understand the traffic patterns. I’ve tried. Mostly I know I’m good if I leave between 7:40 and  7:50. Mostly. Except on mornings like today.

I have to take this moment to say, if you are a school crossing guard/traffic cop and you are good at your job – Thank You.  From the bottom of my heart, Thank You. I’m sure it’s not an easy job dealing with all of us parents trying to get our kids all to the same place by the same time. And if you happen to know a school crossing guard/traffic cop who is good at their job, Thank them. Give them a thank you gift or Christmas card. Something. Because a good crossing guard/traffic cop is a Blessing.

Let me tell you why.

There are 2 crossing guard locations associated with Kiddo’s school. One intersection doesn’t need much traffic control but the main intersection is miserable with traffic. We have 3 consistent crossing guards. And let me tell you, the difference in the traffic depending on who is working is enormous. Enormous as in I left home at 7:45 this morning and didn’t drop Kiddo off until 8:15. Ten minutes later than usual.

My favorite guard I call The Distinguished Gentleman. He’s an older gentleman, maybe 65-ish, tall, and very good at his job. He doesn’t use any the gadgets or glow sticks, simply his neon green gloved hands and occasionally his whistle. His directions are sharp and crisp and clear. He is never ruffled or impatient and he is the very best of the three. When he is directing traffic, I can leave at 7:45 and drop Kiddo off by 8:05. The Distinguished Gentleman only works the main intersection.

Next we have Mr. Grumpy Mustache. He is also an older gentleman, shorter, and with a bushy mustache. He likes to use one of the orange flashlight sticks to direct traffic. He’s sloppy with his movements and flaps that stick all over the place. It always takes a moment to figure out just who he’s motioning to and he’s gets impatient when we don’t react quickly enough, blows that whistle, and flaps that stick around even more. He works the main intersection when The Distinguished Gentleman isn’t there, like this morning. Otherwise he works the secondary intersection.

Finally, we have Mrs. You Mean I’m Supposed to Actually Work? A.K.A. The Lazy Lady. Rarely do I see her do anything but stand there watching. In fact I’m not sure I’ve ever seen her direct traffic. Unless there is a student trying to cross the road she’s pretty much a fixture on the sidewalk.  She works the secondary intersection only, thank goodness, if work is what you can call what she’s doing.

This morning, we had The Lazy Lady not directing traffic (what a mess) at the secondary intersection and Mr. Grumpy Mustache at the main intersection. My route to the school is as such: Turn left off main street, one block down at the first stop sign (secondary intersection) turn right, one block down (main intersection) turn left and immediately turn into school drop off line.

This morning, I turned off the main street at 7:59 am and dropped Kiddo at school FIFTEEN minutes later. Fifteen minutes to drive 2 blocks. Seriously.

People doing a job poorly is a pet peeve of mine. And having people doing a job poorly affect me really, really is a pet peeve of mine. Really.

Smile and walk away.

Just Smile and

Walk.

Away. 

The lesson in all of this: Appreciate your blessings, Say Thank You to those who have ‘walk on’ roles in the drama that is your life, and get your butt up early enough to make coffee before taking your kid to school.

J-

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