I saw a commercial the other day. It was advertising a car. Well, an SUV, to be exact. Anyway, the commercial was supposed to be a glimpse into a day in the life of parents. It showed mom and dad driving kids to practices and games, coaching the team and celebrating together when all was accomplished. I don’t know what world these people live in, but I need to move there.
That’s nothing like reality. Prospective parents, buckle up. I’m about to educate you on how it’s like when parents aren’t living in a 60-second window of SUV-selling propaganda.
First of all, the parents don’t drive together in the car. Not on weekdays. My wife and I see each other for about 15 minutes in the morning. Those 15 minutes are usually spent grumbling forced morning greetings but generally avoiding each other because we are both very much not morning people. Then we see each other in the very late evening exhausted, mentally and usually emotionally whipped.
The things that happen in-between those two chapters of the day slightly vary from day-to-day but mostly consist of one of us driving to pick up the youngest after school to take him to football practice for which he is NEVER ready on time. No pads or cleats on, he usually has absolutely no idea where his helmet is. It’s like he’s surprised that he’s going or something.
Meanwhile, the other parent has to go pick up the daughter at cheer practice. This involves a trip through Grovetown. So, there will be no speeding down streets in a hurry, like the commercial. No, those trips are spent mostly sitting still on Grovetown’s two-lane roads because they, for reasons unbeknownst to many, refuse to update the thoroughfares although the area is growing exponentially. So, there the unlucky parent sits, in dead-stop, bumper-to-bumper traffic with the joy of knowing that wherever it is we have to be next, we’re going to be late. In addition to the asinine disregard for the city’s needs for wider roads, you have to keep in mind that the other drivers are also at wit’s end, so there’s a lot of angry driving going on. People being cut off, blocking intersections, texting while driving and can’t you just use your damn blinker, already?! This likely has much to do with the emotional aspect of the daily whipping.
Now, somewhere in-between the youngest and his forgetting that he has practice at the same time every day and the inevitable clustermuck of Grovetown traffic, one of these parents also have to pick up the oldest at football practice at exactly the same time the youngest is supposed to start practice. Unless, of course, his coach decides to hold practice over, which is prone to happen at any time to the tune of an extra 30 minutes to an hour. This parent gets the exciting task of sitting there waiting but not knowing how long. This also lends to the emotional whipping of the day. Because, Southern football.
Also because Southern football, the youngest still has to be picked up at 8 p.m. Yes, 9-year-olds practicing ’til 8 p.m. When that parent finally arrives home with the last of the sweaty, smelly children, they all three decide they want to shower at the same time. OK, that’s a lie. The youngest has absolutely no problem going to bed smelling like a rotten sweat sock soaked in onions and puberty. Of course, we don’t let him. Not that you know about, anyway.
By the time we figure out some kind of dinner and get all these kids showered and done for the day, it’s near 10 and we’re just busted. You don’t see that in the car commercial. You see the parents sigh and smile as they cheers a couple of juice boxes. After all that, in my house, we need something a little stronger.
Come to think of it, maybe the juice boxes are spiked. No wonder they are smiling.