This week has been a tough one for me. On the heels of last week's two-cars-in-the-shop-at-the-same-time debacle, my sister-in-law left town. The same sister-in-law, who, bless her heart, picks up my daughter from school most days and looks after her until I pick her up in the afternoon. I had no idea just how valuable she was until this week, when I had to get by without her.
We tried, to no avail, to set up some play dates with friends after school so that we could feasibly get an entire day's worth of work without having to leave early enough to pick up my daughter when her school day finishes at 2:20 in the afternoon. I really had no idea just how ridiculously early in the day 2:20 p.m. can feel, but when you're trying to cram an entire day's work into about half of that, it gets a little stressful.
Top it off with winter weather that picked the absolute worst time in the calendar to put me behind schedule or make me late for appointments and you can start to see why I would be so worried about getting everything done and getting to the school on time. After all, if it were sunny, warm and say, May, I could let my daughter play in the schoolyard for a few moments if I am a little behind. But when standing around in the blowing snow can make three minutes feel like three hours, I couldn't imagine leaving her to wait for me and let the snow pile up on the side of her head.
That said, being there to pick her up at the end of the school day – but not necessarily my day, which has entailed some late-night work sessions after the kids go to bed, but such is life -- has become an interesting way to bond with my daughter, who these days feels occasionally pushed to the background by her infinitely more emotionally-needy brother (Sample dialogue: 'why do I have to pick up/put away/clean up my stuff when he doesn't? Because he's three and you're eight, she's told).
She does not like this very much.
So the after-school hours have given us a chance to hang out together, working on her homework at a leisurely pace and her joining me at the gym as we go through our weight-training paces. We also have time to talk about the things in her life rather than me racing home at the end of the day and multitasking like a crazy person in order to fit everything into the day, including homework, quality time, dinner, and whatever evening activities happen to be on the agenda.
The drawbacks, though, of picking my daughter up at school have been far outweighed by the positives; I wish I could say the same about the weather.