Those who really know me know that I am an old soul. When I was about 13/14, I read a book called Growing up Lutheran and mourned the loss of the church basement, potlucks, altar guild, etc. I grump about “kids these days.” And when I talk about teaching and teachers, you’d think I had a good 30 years experience under my belt.
Eschewing the usual past-times of twenty-somethings, I instead prefer cooking for people, getting them to cook for me, browsing antique stores, browsing used book stores, drinking lots of coffee in coffee shops, going for leisurely walks in my neighborhood so I can point out the genius of turn-of-the-century architecture. And yes, somehow I do actually have friends.
In a word, I am reliable. I’m not the girl you ask where you should for a night out on the town, but I am the one you call to watch your aging dogs. Or to drive the carpool.
That’s right. At the ripe old age of 26, I have achieved what I assume many of my lovely young friends had to have a baby for: I get to drive the carpool. I hear a lot about how hard it is to have a new baby, and I want to reply that you don’t know pain until you sit in a carpool line (I clearly have no basis on which to make a statement like this). I skipped the whole dewy, newborn, sleepless night phase, and found myself navigating the endless carpool lines, juggling schedules, and having precious “what did you do today at school” conversations with kids ages ranging from 12-15.
Often coming across as reserved, awkward, or haughty with those of my own age, being the carpool mom is a role I feel oddly comfortable with. Maybe it’s the control I possess (I’m driving and they can’t), or the fact that I have a clear cut mission (I am usually happiest when I have a task), but whatever it is I’ve been loving the chauffeuring thing and having great discussion with former students (conversations we never got to have when I was their teacher). Some of our topics have included: the justice of extra credit projects, The Dark Knight is scarier than The Revenge of the Sith, which teachers are the best/worst, an analysis of Hector in the Iliad (is he the only “good guy?” and what do we make of Odysseus?), The Hobbit movie, elementary vs. junior high vs. high school difficulties, etc.
Moral of the story? I’m a safe driver with a clean record (one speeding ticket in MI, and I was rear-ended in Boston), and driving the carpool allows me to revel in feeling like a comfortably middle-aged mom. I also get to complain about the traffic to an oh-so-captive audience. Although, if I keep this up I’m going to need a much bigger car.