School mornings are about waking up and swearing that tonight the kids really will go to bed before stupid o'clock and that you will not sit up watching Nashville and checking FB until 1.30am.
It's about repeatedly shouting 'get dressed'. It's about breaking up arguments over 'who is sitting in the wrong chair', but above all, school mornings are about the school run. For the record, I am not a fan, in fact if someone came along and offered me the choice of either:
a) the school run or
b) swimming with sharks
My pen would be happily circling B. My reason? Name me a shark whose bite is worse than that of a teenage kid who hates school!
When I plumped for taking my two teenagers over my two younger ones to school. I was, in my mind, picking the easier option. I figured not having to get out of the car was a win win situation, enabling me to wear my fluffy PJ bottoms without justification, face free of make-up and hair scraped up any 'ole way.
a) It doesn't matter if it rains I don't have to get out.
b) I can avoid the boredom of parental cliques and fair-weather mothers.
c) I don't have to drive around in circles, getting dizzy just to find a parking space.
Please note the following account is based on a typical morning for us. It's all true and is in no way exaggerated for dramatic purposes.
With her usual entourage (dad and siblings) busy, Ciara comes out every morning juggling bag, phone and coffee. Gliding over to the passenger side she begins nodding her head up and down towards the door handle, which in layman terms, simply means open the door and let me in.
Duly abiding, I lean across stretching my arm further then it's really designed for, practically dislocating it in the process as I fling it open with the tips of my fingers.
Getting in, her eyes narrow looking at me, 'what the hell are you wearing?', she asks, handing me her coffee to hold, 'and what is going on with your hair?'.
Throwing her coffee at her - ok so I don't - but believe me it crosses my mind. I simply ignore her to ask, 'where's Keelan'?, 'where do you think!', she answers tersely.
'Will you hurry up?', I yell as I open the door to see a lost soul in school uniform wandering around.
'I can't find my phone', he says scratching his head looking no-where in particular. It's at this moment I know that:
a) There will be no leaving until said phone is found
b) I am now heading this search party
c) It will be my fault if he can't find it
'Have you looked in your pockets?', I ask. 'No, because I haven't put it in there', he says throwing his eyes skyward. 'OK, but just check' I suggest.
One minute later and panic over. The finder of things was correct, it was in his pocket.
'I hate school, why do we have to go?', he argues as he climbs in the car. Jumping in the back he repeatedly digs my back and arse through the seat, as he finally brings his clodhoppers into a comfortable position.
And then it starts: 'Have you SEEN the time, now we are late leaving because of you', she barks. She can't help herself, it's as natural as breathing to her.
'Mum, he hasn't got his seatbelt on'
'For god's sake does she have to tell you everything?'
The school run arguments are off to a flying start and I'm only in 2nd gear!
Without warning, a shout from the back, 'Crap, I think I have PE today!'
'Can you bring it in for me?', he asks. 'No I can't', I say, my lips now tightly pursed.
'Great thanks a lot mum, now I will get into trouble and it's all your fault!', he yells.
'Of course it is, I will make sure my psychic powers are back up and running for tomorrow', I screech.
'Mum, please', he shouts, 'you have to, otherwise I will be forced to wear a skanky, dirty kit, from lost property!', he pleads.
'I wouldn't worry too much son, you might be lucky and find one of your three kits that went AWOL in there!'.
'Fine, I'll text Dad then', he says defiantly.
I hit a lane of slow moving traffic. Cursing, I inch forward maintaining bumper to bumper position with the car in front, no way is anyone getting in front of me.
Crawling up the road it becomes obvious that half term is over as the 'Men at work' signs are up. Inching closer there are no visible signs of anyone working, yet they are there, I can see them all standing on the side-lines in their 'cooey we are here' jackets, chatting happily and drinking tea.
If that isn't bad enough I can see someone approaching the pedestrian crossing. 'God no', I plead, don't press the button. Fighting the urge not to shout this out the window, I sit and snarl instead at the sheer gall of them pressing the button.
Bringing my eyes back from boring into their head. I begin shouting at the lights to hurry up. After a lifetime they eventually turn green and we zip through before anyone else decides to cross the road!
Bringing the car to a stop, it's goodbyes and see ya'laters as Starsky and Hutch jump out into a fog of teenage kids.
With a few hours off from parental dictating, I drive off, music playing, vocal chords dancing, home to, in the words of my kids, do nothing all day while an unseen entity tackles the chores.