“It’s just too much, mom!”
That’s what I heard that Wednesday morning as I prepped the boys and myself for another long day of work and school. I thought to myself, “it IS just too much as well, my son,” but that’s life. Of course, I was completely unaware as to what my darling Spawn #1 was possibly referring to.
For months, especially since the start of this school year, I’ve gone into work utterly exhausted, mentally not physically, due to the constant bickering between my two children as we sit in carline. I work a fairly unflexible job, but one that allows me to work the hours of 7:30 – 4:30. To be at work by 7:30, I have to drop my children off at school as soon as the bell rings and even then I’m still frantically trying to make it through morning rush hour traffic to be at work on time. In most cases, I was coming in HOT and I mean literally and figuratively. Side note, I blame the “literally” portion of this on my apparent pre-menopause. Getting old stinks! Back to my story….
Most of those mornings we were leaving our house at 6:45 am in order to be one of the first 4 in carline. Let’s take another aside here…If I was not one of the first 4, then I would be stuck behind the other parents and most of those in carline are some of the most inconsiderate and disrespectful individuals! No wonder our society is dissipating so quickly! So, again, back to my story…
I would sit in carline from 6:50 until 7:10 every morning. That’s a mere 20 minutes, but in the world of a mother with two boys aged 6 & 8, 20 minutes is more like a torturous eternity. I found myself yelling at my children, attempting to separate them, trying to reason with them, everything and anything you could possible do with 2 terrorists who have no desire to be maintained. Needless to say, I needed to come up with another alternative to morning carline…enter the school bus.
I rode the school bus when I was in school, mostly middle and high school up until 10th grade when I gratefully attained my drivers license. I hated the school bus. I hated getting up every morning and getting on a bus at 6:20. Yes, I said 6:20. Back when I was growing up, the town I lived in had only one high school, a 20 minute drive in the OPPOSITE direction of where my parents worked. So, my parents put me on the school bus. I swore to myself that I would never put my children through this misery, but alas I broke my promise to myself.
After the start of the new year and much discussion with my husband, we decided it would be best to put the boys on the bus in the morning. I found out that our stop was the last stop before getting the boys to school. Much unlike my nearly hour and a half that I spent riding the bus, my children would have a mere 5-10 minutes on the bus. The added benefit was that we could save an extra 15 minutes in the morning as well since I no longer had to leave the house at 6:45. All in all, it seemed like a great idea.
The week we decided to put the boys on the bus was the week of January 13th, the same week of the National Championship game between my beloved Clemson Tigers and LSU. Spawn #1, being at an age where he can appreciate and enjoy football more, was allowed to stay up until half time. Of course, my husband and I had to wake him and tell him the painful news of the loss by Clemson. We were met with incessant sobs and an attack of, “it’s all your fault Clemson lost. You made me go to bed at half time and if I had stayed awake we would have won!” Highly unlikely, my child, we were outplayed by a much better team, but how do you console an inconsolable child? My husband and I took our fault and went about our day.
Move forward to the following day, Wednesday, January 15th…the first day on the bus, and we had not exactly communicated that to our children. On top of that piece of information, we had one more thing to tell the first Spawn, something that we knew might break his football loving heart. Luke Kuechly, of the Carolina Panthers, had announced his retirement from football the night before. Did I know that all of this would be a bit much for my 8 year old? Of course not! Why would anyone ever think this was going to be too much, especially in a world with far worse things occurring on a daily basis? Oh to be able to see the world through a child’s eyes.
As my husband and I awoke the Spawn and helped him get ready for school, we told him about Luke Kuechly. The breakdown the day before from Clemson’s loss should have been some sort of warning to me. I should have known what my child could take and what he couldn’t. I guess I don’t know my child after all, because he took Luke Kuechly’s retirement almost as hard if not harder than the outcome of the National Championship game. There was a lot of flailing about, a lot of “what am I supposed to do now?’ I mean one would think that he was the owner or general manager of the Panthers franchise and the retirement was going to be a direct impact to his well being. Again, to see the world through a child’s eyes.
As my children sat at the kitchen counter eating breakfast, I told them that today would be the day they ride the bus to school. My oldest one looked at me and I watched the tears well up in his eyes, “it’s just too much, mom!”
“What’s just too much? What are you talking about?” I asked.
“Can we do this bus thing next week?” he asked.
“No, we can’t,” I replied. “What’s going on?”
“This! What you’re doing to me it’s just too much,” he sobbed. “It’s too much in one week! First Clemson loses, then you tell me Luke Kuechly is retiring, and NOW you’re putting me on a school bus! It’s just too much, mom!”
Wow! I’ll admit part of me had to stifle a laugh, cover my face and turn around so he wouldn’t see my amusement at his obvious pain. After composing myself, I turned back around and apologized but I told him I had faith in him. I knew he could handle it. He didn’t quite see it the same way and after a few minutes of moping around and sobbing, my second Spawn walked up to him and said, “Suck it up and get on the bus!” Yes, that would be the 6 year old.
In the end, we found that riding the bus isn’t so bad. They both seem to enjoy it and while we experience our days, mostly of my personal mom guilt for putting my children through something I swore they would never have to do, in the end it seems to be the right decision. Of course, I’m sure we’ll soon be experiencing something new to cause life to be “just too much”.