By Amy McCollam
I do not know everything, but I do know some things really well. Experience is the best teacher, so as far as child-raising goes, I would have to say that my steady experience as a mom for the last 31 years has given me some wisdom to share. I will keep it short, though. One topic at a time.
One thing I have always found nerve-racking is the whole dropping the kids off at school business. I hate to drive, in the first place. I know I stink at driving. I also know I am not a beauty queen that early in the morning, and sometimes I still have on my Snoopy sleeping pants so I do not want to get out of my van. I just want to drop off the kids, and go back home where I can enjoy a cup of tea and watch my Judge Mathis show.
School driveways are not designed with speedy drop-offs in mind. In Villa Grove, this year there is a new procedure to drop off your child. As you approach the front doors, you must pull over and stop to let your child out. BUT you cannot pull over in the red zone, or in the handicapped zone; only in the spots to the north and south of those areas. The problem with that idea is that the police officer who helps enforce this new procedure, parks his squad car in the first available spot, forcing cars to pull over to the curb farther from the door.
Granted Little Billy will not die if he has to walk a few extra yards to the door, but when the snowflakes fly and ice covers those sidewalks, it can be a problem.
Not only are there a limited number of spots available to pull over, there seems to be a whole new batch of parents who do not just stop-and-drop. They not only pull over to the curb, but they turn off the car, get out, open the trunk, get bookbags out, hug and kiss every child, and stand there and wave and watch as their child strolls into the school building. All the while I am stalling in the school driveway with my right blinker on, and no place to pull over, a line of cars are backed up behind me clear out onto the highway, and my kids are frantically trying to open the van doors to jump out because they are going to be late to class.
Last year the procedure was to NOT pull over. We were to let the kids out in the driving lane. It went faster and smoother, albeit a bit more dangerous. Shoot, if the kids got their feet running in place before I got to the door, I didn’t really even have to stop; they could just jump right out and keep running!
Now there are even moms sitting in their cars texting on their phones in the drop off lane! How rude! Do they not understand that they are taking up valuable spots that we need to drop off our kids?! This isn’t a parking lot, ladies, move it!
And one of my biggest pet peeves at the school drop off is the talkers. You would think that these people hadn’t seen each other in years, the way they carry on, gathering like a flock of geese. All the while, I’m needing their parking spot, and they are either oblivious to what is going on, or they just don’t give a honk, and are some of the most inconsiderate people in the world. I’m glad my windows are up so people can’t hear what I’m thinking out loud.
Here is a thought: how about everyone just use common sense. Obey the rules, and do what you are supposed to do, and the system will work. Love your neighbor. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. And for Pete’s sake, do all that hugging and kissing and talking and texting at home. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Just quit taking up all the spots we are supposed to pull over at for a few seconds. A FEW SECONDS!
When I pull over in front of the school, I hit the button to open the hatch, and yell “Deploy, deploy, deploy!” And out they jump! Life and opportunity moves fast; you have to have that urgency in your bones to make it in anything worthwhile. We don’t need a generation of young people with no drive, selfish, and coddled. So lead, follow, or get out of our way.