I’ve heard this stage of parenting called the “running around years.” The time in the car while I’m carting my children from place to place and activity to activity seems to comprise much of our daily interaction lately. I worry about that at times, that the all-out busyness of life in pursuit of all the seemingly “required” enrichment opportunities is robbing us of a truly rich life.
Our schedule this week has done nothing to alleviate this worry; in fact, it’s just slammed the point home. Adventure Guy and I both had commitments of our own on top of the usual children’s activities. Monday night I worked late at a Board Meeting; Tuesday night we had basketball practice, Boy Scouts den meeting, and an orchestra concert, and last night Dancer Girl had dance class, then all the kids had church activities while I went to a Junior League meeting. This afternoon Adventure Guy left for a hunting trip. Tomorrow Dancer Girl has Odyssey of the Mind practice. The evening should be pretty calm, giving us enough time to prepare to go out of town for Gym Girl’s meet on Saturday. But that won’t happen until after Soccer Boy’s basketball game that afternoon.
And all of the activities I listed don’t take into account Gym Girl’s daily practices after school. I have a carpool set up to get her there, but we pick her up every day at 6:15. Which explains my greatest parenting move of the day. I finished facilitating a meeting tonight a bit before six and congratulated myself for having just enough time to run back into the office and check voicemail and email before picking Gym Girl up at 6:15. At 6:00 I glanced at the clock and thought, “Yep, time to leave for pick up.”
Then it hit me. Adventure Guy left town today. Therefore, he did not pick up Soccer Boy at daycare. Therefore, I was already officially late for the 6:00 p.m. cutoff, and I was ten minutes away if I made good time to his school. I made a quick call on my cell to let them know I was headed over as I ran out of the building. When I got there, Soccer Boy was the only child left, sitting alone with one of the day care assistants who I am sure was really loving me right then. I apologized profusely to Soccer Boy and the worker who’d had to stay late on my account.
And then I decided that if these were indeed the “running around years,” it was a good thing I’m an excellent driver because I’m not feeling too hot in the overall parenting category right now.