Last year my oldest son, Isaac, started preschool two days a week. Our church is starting a classical Christian School and we have wanted to be a part of it. Since we live soooo far away from just about everything, some of my friends, who are also neighbors, and I decided to carpool so that we weren't driving all the time and dragging the little ones all around the county. First of all, you must understand that I am a homebody. I do not like to be out all that much. It's just simpler being home and I like it that way. So last year, when I thought about having to get my son to school and the hour round trip it'd be both ways, I felt defeated before I even started. I also was 37 weeks pregnant with Joshua at the start of school as well, so when I say I felt defeated, I really felt defeated. The thought of carpooling was the ONLY way I felt like I could handle the year and the drive so I jumped on board pretty quickly. I didn't want to live a frantic life and so carpooling seemed like a good solution. What I didn't anticipate was the absolute hilarity, joy and fun I would have driving all of those boys to school.
First of all, I have the perfect carpool car--a Honda Pilot. Thank God for that car because really, it's His provision that we even have it. But anyway, it seats 8 comfortably and has shoulder straps for every seat. These are things to consider since all of the boys are small and car seats, booster seats and the like are all part of the equation. So in my Pilot, at least once a week, I was transporting five boys all under the age of five. And boy has it been a ride....literally. This makes for very good material. Take today for instance. We listen to a cd of kids' music that is a compilation of hymns. I want our children to know hymns because the theology in them is so rock solid so, we listen to them in the car and sing them at home too. Anyhow, right in the middle of Crown Him with Many Crowns, all of the boys were belting out "Brownie" instead of "Crown Him!" My oldest is very studious and particular and he had been corrected by his Dad earlier in the week and so he proceeded to try and correct everyone in the car about the wording, including his little brother. However, since the car is loud and large, nobody could hear him and his meticulous corrections were falling on deaf ears. Brownie it was!
Another habit we have gotten into is telling stories on the way to school, which means I'm the principal storyteller. This started last year because many times I had to nurse Joshua in the car and keep all of them contained at the same time. I pondered how to pull this off not just decently, but well since a loud car of little boys could easily take me over if they tried, so I had to have a plan. They all love trains so I started telling stories about Thomas the Train. Most of the stories had morals to them like obeying parents, being kind, loving God, sharing and being humble. Poor James (the train) he most often was the proud train. But the stories seemed to work beautifully. And of course, I got to remind them again that they needed to listen to their parents in a sly, sneaky kind of way. Ha! Anyhow, Joshua got fed, they were all happy in their seats and then I was able to send them off to school without any major catastrophes.
It never ceases to amaze me how I am able to pile all of them into the car and make it all the way home in one piece. But it works every time. And then I wonder to myself, where did the time go? How am I a carpool mom already? I swear I still feel 18 at times wearing cute skirts and adorning my hair with ribbons to get that handsome guy's attention in English class at Cal Poly. That's how I really snagged my husband you know. He asks me sometimes what happened to the skirts and ribbons. And then he laughs and says that they got replaced by an apron and bobby pins, and that he'd take me the way I am now any day. Phew...good thing. I'm not really a skirt type girl (I wish I was but I'm just not) so, that brief period of dressing up was really, well brief and strategic. But seriously, time has flown and continues to fly. And I better cherish it. Even though it's a bit insane, carpool reminds me that I better soak up all of the chattering voices, the laughs and stories floating through my car as the miles fly by. The next time I turn around to notice, they'll be grown, and I'll be wishing I could go back to Thomas the Train, nursing my baby in the front seat and hearing about their day at school. Someday they won't want to talk about it much. They'll have few words...which just means that they'll have turned into little men and that I will have grown even older. So I'll take the craziness, brownie and all. What a blessing it is!!