Mornings are a barrage of talking, negotiating, finding lost objects, and hurrying the sixth grader out the door.
How getting her to the bus stop on time requires rushing in any way, I have yet to puzzle out. She gets up at 6:45am. The bus arrives at 8:45am. Should she be able to fashion her own soap box derby vehicle and coast to school with all that time? Absolutely.
Tying on her Doc Martens takes approximately the same amount of time it takes a Slow Loris to reach for a rice ball. Yes, a Slow Loris is really an animal. And obviously it’s direct kin to my child.
This morning, the Magic 8 Ball’s response to “Will my kid catch the bus?” was “Cannot predict now.” As we inched closer and closer to 8:45, the response became “Better not tell you now.”
I was trying to keep my cool. With varying results.
Those of you who don’t have Virgo anywhere in your astrological chart might be thinking, “So, if the kid misses the bus, just drive her to school!”
First of all, that goes against every fiber of my being. If she misses the bus, I think she should have to walk to school. Uphill both ways. In a driving snow storm. (But really, I’d have to walk with her, because she’d have to cross 3 different neighborhoods and two very busy streets and she’s not allowed to go anywhere without using the buddy system. It’s also unlikely to snow in Atlanta in August, unless we’re actually living through the apocalypse. So, there’s that).
But none of that mattered, what I would or wouldn’t do philosophically as a parent. Because today we only have one car. And my partner has that car somewhere out in the Atlanta wilds. So, the kid HAD to make it on the bus. Or she and I’d be walking all morning. Or taking a Lyft. Whatever. Either way, there was a perfectly good bus & she needed to be on it.
She made it. With probably 45 seconds to spare.
I almost had a damn heart attack, willing her with my mind to walk a little faster. I think it worked. Because I could feel the Magic 8 Ball gearing up for a “My sources say no“ response. I think we cheated fate here.
But the funny thing about motherhood is that once I knew she was on the bus, I looked around me like now what?
It’s not that I don’t have other things to do or interests to pursue. But being in the moment with that kid is a mash-up of all the emotions that make me feel alive. The good, the bad, the brutal. They’re all there on the surface when I’m with her. Especially when we’re navigating uncharted territory together.
And then, suddenly, the moment is over. And she moves on and away from me. As it should be. But I’m left behind, even if just for a little while, wondering when I might get the privilege and rush of that vortex of emotions again.
I know this left-behind-feeling will happen more and more as she grows up and into the person she wants to be. All I can really do about it is try to be the kind of mother that she wants to include as her co-conspirator & confidant for a lifetime.
That’s my work.