Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers. Head over there for information and links to more Slicing!
My drive to work is the same, more or less, every day. How rushed my morning is, and what time I leave dictates which way I start my trip, but the last leg is always the same.
On rushed, bad days, I race out of the house. Guilt trails me down my front steps after I hurriedly give my kids their kisses and hugs, and I speedily remind my husband of a few last minute things. Guilt follows me into my car and reminds me of the stretching out of that connection to my family as I drive farther away. I distract myself with the radio and then halfway to school my mind starts filling with my school to do list.
On good days I have a little more time with my kids, and I give a few more hugs and kisses. Some days, my kids walk me outside and run on the sidewalk as I drive away. Guilt is still my company on good days, but I’m more comfortable shutting her up.
Best case scenario, I’d use each of my 20 minutes up like I’m licking the last bite of the chocolate syrup out of my bowl. Occasionally I do use most of my trip for mindful thinking. I think of a lot of things I’d like to write about during this time, but driving isn’t the best time for writing. . . (I tried to dictate something once… but my phone got really confused, poor thing… and it would need to be a post called “A Slice of Autocorrect” I guess!)
Sometimes as I turn in to my school’s neighborhood, I see a father and children waiting for their bus. Last week I turned the corner as the bus was closing its door. The father waited as the bus did its bus things – a small jolt backwards and then a slow start. He stood and he waved and he blew a kiss. I stared and I cried and I thought. I thought about how I try to make my classroom a home away from home but how it isn’t a home, it’s a school. I thought about how I care for my students and protect them, but how I’m not their parent. (Their parents waved goodbye to them this morning, I hope.) I thought about parents waving goodbye to their kids starting in preschool. I thought about that connection we have to our children, and how it stretches and stretches as we send them off to school and sports and playdates (and one day real dates! and college! and marriage!)
Now I notice school bus goodbyes everywhere on my morning drive. Parents wait in cars with their kids at the bottom of long country driveways, and parents walk back after busses have pulled away.
If only I could leave school in time to see busses pulling up again, and kids hugging their parents hello! I think that might be good for my soul.