Road Warrior-Comes Out of the Closet

by on December 3, 2010

I am a road warrior on our wild ride to school each day.

Cole and I leave the house at 7am -give or take a few minutes to drive the 11 city miles to the Chicago Waldorf School.  On average, our school day drive takes about 45 minutes.

In the beginning, Joe drove Cole to school on his way to work and I picked him up at the end of the day.  Later, when Joe left the insurance business, to pursue a career as a movie star, he took over driving Cole both ways -to school and back. Joe never complained about the round trips but over time I began to hear people comparing his driving to Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.

After Joe died, the round trips to school became my responsibility.  I’ve been told, I’m not a great driver; my mother, the road warrior who safely travels several thousand miles each year without ever being in an accident or receiving a ticket, may have pointed this out to me a time or two. Joe, found me mild-mannered and dreamy behind the wheel. I seldom tried to beat a light or frighten pedestrians into moving a little quicker, I never blew my horn or shouted curses and threats out the window. Driving 3 1/2 hours to and from Cole’s school changed me.

The other morning, I realized just how far I had come from my mild-mannered driving days. Cole and I were leaving home behind schedule but decided to go for the gold medal and make it to school on time.  School starts at 7:55am. Why 7:55 am? I have no idea, Waldorf education claims to have a reason for everything they do; I think the reason they start at 7:55am is to drive me crazy. The grade school started at 8 am, and yes, 5 minutes can be a deal breaker when you are trying to be on time.

We fired up the car and blasted out of the garage. I took advantage of the bus lanes, when the risk of being run over by a bus was low, dared lights to turn red on me, glared at construction workers until they quickly flagged me on, and hurried sleepy, pokey children on to school buses (in a motherly tone, of-course). One of my finer moves was to drive in the right lane; passing the line of traffic in the left lane, and when I reached the light, turning on my right blinker and pretend that I was going to turn. When the light changed, I quickly switched off my blinker and moved in front of the driver to my left. The driver was too surprised to offer resistance. As I drove off, I eased my conscience by offering the other driver the jaunty little thank you wave; I learned from my mother the road warrior. At the next light, my plan worked just as well but the driver honked at me, so I used Joe’s middle finger wave.

We won the gold medal, arriving at school by 7:53.  Cole and I quickly high-fived one another and said our I love you’s as he dashed out the car door and into school.’ On my way to Starbucks, I let a few cars pass in front of me and graciously acknowledged a few jaunty little waves. Once again, I was just your ordinary mind mannered driver.

This video is of our car ride to school. It’s not as boring as I thought it would be…I mean it’s not as boring as watching grass grow or two banks merge. You can watch a little of this video and look forward to the one I’ll make when it’s snowing!

Do you drive your kids to school or do they walk both ways uphill in the cold? What kind of driver are you–mild-mannered, road warrior, or are you like me–mild-mannered most of the time but ready to throw on your road warrior cape, press the pedal to the metal and beat the clock as needed?

Glad you were in my Odd neighborhood. Feel free to drop by any time. I would love to hear from you in the comment section of this blog, or on Facebook or Twitter!

Katybeth

{ 11 comments }

Nancy Gaynor Leahy

I no longer drive my children to school but for a while I drove them thirty country miles. The views were magnificent and I would day dream, pray and worship. No traffic ever. The kids listened to books on tape or we prepared for spelling test. I loved our morning time together. When they were in hs they travelled on the train by themselves. Tom walked across the street. Easy Peasy. You certainly have a challenging morning everyday. You handle the road beautifully! Like a pro!

Katybeth Jensen

Oh-I had forgotten– Driving was a real plus during the spelling and multiplication days! Cole aced most of this tests. We listen to some books on tape and I am fortunate to have a kid–even at 14 that likes to catch me on his life and times. If he does not keep me company-I whine. I think I handled it better when it was just once a day but we had a choice about where to live and where to send him to school and I don’t regret the choice we made–ever…well most of the time 😀
As always thanks for dropping by Odd!

Diane

I hung up my road warrior cape long ago. The traffic getting in and out of the schools is so bad it’s better for them to ride the bus (better for me too!). 🙂 Diane
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Katybeth Jensen

You would think in a big city like Chicago public transportation would work for us. Trains, and bus are plentiful. Its our location-public transportation on a good day would take Cole 2 hours one way. He does take it sometimes though…and our private school does not have a school bus option.
I’m glad you had an available solution that works well for you-that is happy!

Jane

I can’t believe I ever complained about our 20-25 minute (depending on which school bus or tractor you get behind) commute to school. 45 minutes? One-way? Now THAT’S commitment!
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Katybeth Jensen

Happy Birthday! I will be over in a minute to wish you a proper Happy Birthday.
I thought of your Montessori commitment when I wrote this post. When you find a school that your kids does well in and you feel apart of the community–you drive or make some other kind of sacrifice if you have to and lets face it most of us have to.
Buses and tractors the bane of my existence! 8)

Kathy Jernigan

It might not take so long if you didn’t have so many stop signs. Would love to know how many you pass on your travels. (Cole) Giving directions you would not be able to say go to the stop sign and turn….. (Wow). I am a mild mannered. I try to be the nice one. You can pull in front of me any time. I don’t mind. And that graveyard is hugh. Wow again. That school is as big as a college campus. I will always remain a small town girl. I appreciate it more and more. Traveling yes, living no.

Katybeth Jensen

I will pass along your message to Cole and see if he is willing count stop signs. Big city life has high and low points. Traffic being on the low side. I love Chicago but I am not sure I will grow old here.

Alexander

I don’t drive my kids to school but I do play chauffeur all day every day it seems. The activities are a killer or going to and from friends houses or the mall.
Hate to admit I’m a road warrior and not a very nice one. My husband is Mr. Mild Mannered—
Love your blinker strategy. 😀

omawarisan

11 miles in 45 minutes? Is Cole carrying the car?

Those rides are a treat, aren’t they? I think I learned more from my son going to and from school than any other time
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Katybeth Jensen

City driving. Slow. We have tried it every imaginable way. Yes! As much as I complain-the time with Cole is so valuable. I try very hard to never use the time to capture him for unpleasant conversations but listen and learn. Fortunately my kid is a talker so I learn a lot; I might otherwise miss but for the factor of sheer togetherness.

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