Missing the School Bus. Seizing the Day.

Oh shoot! After that bus...or maybe not.
Oh shoot! After that bus!

This morning my daughter missed the school bus. It used to be that driving her to school wouldn’t have been a big deal because we lived only eight minutes away. Now, though, my daughters attend a French-language high school in another city, a forty minute drive south.

I had already planned to drive to the school at twelve-fifteen, having promised my older daughter that I would deliver her Geography project at precisely one o’clock. Her geography project is an ice cream shop business and the prop in question is enough milkshake to serve her entire class. Wise business-woman that she is, she enlisted my help to minimize the risk of a catastrophic melt.

Two trips to school adds up to three hours of driving in the middle of a weekday. For a mom, that is time that might be spent doing errands, neating up, putting away breakfast dishes, mending. For a lawyer that time is potentially worth hundreds of dollars in billable time. But neither of these really matter today. The truth is this time is precious and not because I could use it to do three more loads of laundry or churn out a contract.

In fact what my younger daughter gave me was a gift: time spent sitting quietly beside her in the van as we drove to school, a chance to reach over and stroke her hair and trade a few thoughts. And on the way home, on a day with sunshine and clear skies, the chance to listen to a book-on-CD, to sit with my own thoughts in a place where neither the laundry not the todo list on my computer could pull me away.

And what did I give away? My time. Understanding, I suppose, for my daughter’s sleeping in. Acceptance. My control over my daughter’s management of her morning. Also, the tension that would have seized up my shoulders, and tied knots in my gut had I reacted differently. A good trade? I think so.

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