School's over now. I feel like I can breathe. I enjoy having my kids home, and I'm pretty sure they like it, too. But I'm glad school's over for a different reason, one which I've talked about on Twitter more than my blog:
I drove so much this year. NO. YOUGUYS. I drove SO MUCH this year.
("How much did you drive?")
Gather 'round, and I'll tell you. Closer. No, really, do I have your attention? One hundred miles a day.
Did you hear me?
I SAID I DROVE A HUNDRED MILES A DAY.
Now, to be clear, it wasn't a hundred miles every day. But the fact remains: it was not uncommon for me, during this school year, to drive one hundred miles in a day and not leave my county.
Here's what happened: Back in August, we established our schedule. 5 kids, 4 schools, dance classes, soccer, music. One of the kids walks to school; we do carpool for another; two of the kids walk to their music lessons. Other than that, I would be driving. I didn't mind, though, really I didn't. I think that driving is part of what being a mom is today, if you choose it. Not every mom drives as much as I do, and I don't drive as much as every mom, but what I'm saying is that it's not uncommon to have Driving as a main Mom Responsibility.
A few weeks in, I was overwhelmed. I'll spare the details, but suffice it to say that most days I would leave in the morning, along with everyone else, and wouldn't get home until afternoon pickups, the same time everyone else got home. Most days it was like this. I couldn't wrap my head around what was happening: I got everyone where they needed to be, but I wasn't home, I wasn't able to do dishes or laundry or anything else the way I used to, the way I wanted to because I was in the car all day.
Luckily, in mid-September, I got to go to Hawai'i, which was just what I needed, at that time of my life more than most others. I thought a lot in Hawai'i. I thought about friendships and goals and possibilities and health and fitness and a lot of other things, but I thought about schedules, too, and how I use my time, and what that time is worth. And then when I got home, I hired a cleaning lady, and this may very well be in the top ten best decisions I've ever made in my life.
My driving was made more manageable by realizing that all this driving was 1, something I elected to do and 2, temporary. And then, in November, my husband's piece of crap car died dead. (As opposed to the other dozen times it died and then, to my chagrin, was resurrected.) Here's the thing about that: we have owned our vehicles for over ten years, which means no car payment, which means that in order to get another vehicle we'd have to introduce a car payment into our budget, and with the job my husband took in August, well . . . now I've said too much about our finances, but long-story-short, since November we've been a one-car family. And also, I drive my husband to work and pick him up (except for when he gets rides or takes the bus or rides his bike) (and even when he can ride the bus home, meaning I wouldn't have to drive, it would take him about 50 minutes to get home, whereas if I picked him up, he'd be home in 20 or 30 minutes. You see my quandary.).
Having only one car (which fits our family, but only just barely, and only for about five minutes without punches being thrown in the back seat) has made me a more cautious driver because I'm so afraid of losing the ONE car that we have, and I also do my best to drive minimally (for what that means for my family). In that spirit, we decided to drive to California for Christmas break. Luckily and thankfully, we still have a functioning vehicle.
In January, I decided to pull my youngest out of 2-day-a-week preschool. Because I was tired of driving her there. In March, I did the same for my 5-year-old and his 3-day-a-week preschool.
Now here we are. Summer. My van has just about 190,000 miles on it. If you'd like to give us a car, let me know. And if you're into giving away things like cars, I should also maybe tell you that while we were at Disneyland my camera broke. Also, I haven't been able to replace my laptop, and my phone is a real piece.
First world problems abound.