The boys’ carpool ride arrives at 8:10 a.m.
Right on cue; our three handsome children who attend elementary school line up at the door Sound of Music style. They’re dressed smartly. They’re clean, their clothes are clean and pressed, and their socks and shoes match each other. What’s more, they’ve packed their own healthy lunch and eaten their own balanced breakfast. As I kiss each on the top of his head, I am treated to three radiant, teeth-brushed smiles. They skip out the door holding hands and singing of brotherly love and making the world a better place. “Goodbye, Mother, Dear,” they chorus as they skip.
Yep, in a parallel universe.
In this universe, my neighbor often shows up around 8:15ish. All right: 8:20. Ish. We’re near the end of the school year, after all.
As if they cannot possibly hear a knock that has sounded on the front door since last August, my elementary-aged children continue to do what they were doing. Boy #1 scrolls down his Amazon wish list to see if he’s already added that particular Lego set. Boy #2 enters the room to demand to know where his mother put his item that he absolutely must have RIGHT NOW. Boy #3 is casually eating cereal while reading a book.
According to an advanced mathematical formula I’ve developed, only 1/3 of the boys will be dressed. 1/2 of that third will not be fully dressed. Further; 0% will have completely clean garments, matching socks, or even matching shoes. The only thing my offspring know about ironing is that the iron gets really hot and they will be burned alive by parents yelling at them if they get within 5 feet of it.
The next five minutes are a complete chaos of sorting shirts to backs, shoes to correct feet and owners, food to lunchbags, backpacks to backs, and a few parental hands to figurative backsides. After passing a last-minute toothbrush swipe and underwear check, my little darlings grumble out the door to the sound of impatient honking.
I love my neighbor. She drives in the morning because she’s doing that whole work-outside-the-home thing, and I’m not usually dressed before 10 because I’m not.
She and I love our children. We love them getting ready on time, dressed in a manner that upholds the family name, and sitting quietly and seat buckledly during carpool. We especially love when they do all of these things without prompting.
It’s a good thing we love them in the real world, too.