It had been many years since I sat in a carpool line. You can only imagine how much carpooling I did while raising my four children. So when I agreed to take one day a week to help Sarah carpool Parker Ann this year, I merely said, "Sure, I don't mind!" And never thought any more about it...until Sarah showed up with my carpool tag and the conversation of carpool "rules". That's when the REAL memories of my carpool adventures returned in full force.
The last time I carpooled was when Caitlin was in high school which was unusual for me to even be carpooling in high school. So that must mean that Caitlin was being punished for something and part of that punishment included taking her driving privileges away. Which in all actuality was more punishment for me than it was for her. Anyway, all I knew was that I had to drive through and get her. Apparently there was more to it than that...there was a "process" of doing it correctly...and if only I had read my parent/student handbook (as I was told by the man who got out of his car in the RAIN to tell me this) I would know that. And so you see, I was having a little anxiety just thinking about driving through a carpool line again after all these years.
Sarah actually took me with her on a "drive-thru" one day before it was my turn to carpool solo. I was given my tag and told, "Put this on your mirror and don't take it off until you leave the school property." Apparently Sarah had either read the parent/student handbook or listened carefully as someone gave the "new parent" orientation at school. OK...I'm sure she did both because she is a REAL rule follower. So, when she gave me this tag, I looked at it very closely and then wondered where I could put the thing so I didn't lose it. You see, I put things in "safe places" so I won't lose them all the time. I can't wait to find all of those things! Back to the practice run now...as we pulled into the school parking lot early, there were already cars lined up waiting for school to dismiss. There were actually two lines and I was instructed as to which one I should be in and then we waited...When the line began to move, and we saw Parker Ann being brought to the car, I thought, "Almost done!" But then there was the "car seat factor" (ugh...). After Parker got in the car we then had to pull up and out of the way and buckle her in. OK...so, the car seat part and all of those cars behind me is what bothered me; I would have to think about what I would do when it was time for my solo run.
The day arrived and it was time for me to do that solo carpool run. I put my tag up, got in line early and began to wait...and wait...and wait. OK, maybe I got there a little early but I didn't want to be late and get in a really long line on my first day. And then I realized in my haste to get to carpool line, I had forgotten the after school snack I had meant to bring for Parker on her ride home (crap). Oh well, there wasn't time to worry about that now because the line was moving. I made it to the front and Parker came out beaming to see me behind the wheel. She hopped up into the car and couldn't get around the car seat(seriously?!). The teacher took her backpack off as I worried that the cars behind me were going to start honking. We drove forward to get her buckled in and suddenly that part didn't work for me...I drove across the parking lot, parked, got out and buckled her in. WHEW!!! I had survived! I was home free now. I turned on a video, stopped and got Parker Ann a snack and then hit the road.
Yes, I survived carpool but next time I will be a little more prepared. I am making mental notes (perhaps I should put them down on paper? Or the back side of the carpool tag?)); get a snack, pull front seat in car forward so Parker Ann will have easier access to her car seat, get a DVD put in the player. Who knew that carpool could be so crazy? And who knew that I, as a YaYa, would suddenly worry about following the rules? And hey...what happens anyway if you break the carpool line rules? Is there a carpool police who puts you in carpool detention?(He-He!!!) Oh, I know what you do...you pull the, "I'm sorry, I'm just the grandmother card"! (wink wink)