Vintage VW bus

Other than its rounded boxy shape this VW has nothing in common with my mini van Halen.

This bus lives in a warm spot, carries carefree friends to beach parties and surfing stops, and very very rarely has a dark cloud of hate riding in the back seat.

Lying in bed last night I imagined a future where my boys might read this blog. I understand how ridiculous this thought is. What teenager/early adult male would want to know what his mother thinks now, let alone later. But in this odd imagining I had died young (ish) and they had a thirst to know me. So they read the blog.

This alarmed me.

I am pretty sure I write about them primarily as beloved distractions at best, and miniature assholes at worst. I vowed to change that. To write a post full of the love that I have, and giving them poignant advice for the time after my death. Words that would keep us forever connected and guide them into happy futures.

And then they woke up.

I had offered to drive them to school, a rarity, so we all set alarms a half an hour late. Both boys popped in for a morning hug and I felt we were off and rolling. I began composing the positive post in my head. How they look squinty eyed in the mornings. How moved I am every single time I hear one of them utter the phrase “my brother,” even in anger.

I considered glossing over the difficult subject of yesterday night. While I was out drinking vodka with friends the boys skipped their contributions and homework. Steve never reminded them, and they never moved from their devices until bedtime. The consequence for this is losing technology the following night. In a potentially undermine-y way I invited them to attack homework and contributions with eagerness, imagining that they might impress us so much that we could let it slide this time. This was the first time in WEEKS that Oliver had skipped his contributions, and Leo…he had been a recent begrudging participant.

My invitation to take initiative is sort of a pre-emptive nag, and thus a total cheat, but I selfishly wanted to avoid the 2.5 hour fit that would occur between dinner and bedtime if in fact we followed through with the consequence. I know it takes away the power of our agreement, but it had been SO LONG since we reviewed the consequence that it seemed like a bit of a warning was in order.

Instead of skipping the fit I just moved it ahead in the timeline.

Leo announced that he would find a new family at school today. I asked him to share his new address and he told me he WAS NOT KIDDING. In case any of you thought you are in the running I am in fact THE MEANEST mom on the planet. And I NEVER HELP. This is yelled as I am warming the car to take them to school a half an hour after the bus passed our house.

So we get into the mini van amidst the jackets, hats, mittens, and PJs (?) that we couldnt find in the house, clearing a path on the van floor through school papers, art projects and Pokemon cards I back out of the garage trying to avoid CO poisining (hows that for helpful?) The anticipated screech comes.

I’m NOT EVEN BUCKLED. Then the screaming. I can’t do it. I can’t reach it. My fingers are going to break. “I’m happy to help you if you need it sweetie” Says the least helpful mom on earth. THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE. I AM NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO HOLD MY PENCIL. These shrieks are punctuated by the sounds of the seatbelt on the receptacle, clearly close enough to click together.

I wait.

Oliver starts…”we’re going to be late. I don’t waaaaant to be LAAAATE.”

We stay in the driveway.

There is no sound from the back.

“Why aren’t you DRIVING?”

I guess he is buckled.

We drive on in silence arriving just before the bell. I manage to pull to the curb before Oliver is out the car sprinting towards school. Leo has somehow, despite being buckled managed to almost entirely disrobe.

The circle is full as cars navigate around us with difficulty.

“It’s so COLD in here, why did Oliver leave the door open?”

(Maybe because he thought you would be exiting the vehicle in a shorter time span than 15 mintues?)

I cant find my boot. (Check your foot.) Where is my snack? (check your backpack) Where is my snack? (van floor?)

“hmmm” I say to all.

Now we do the goodbye ritual. Love you. Love you too. Have a good day. You have a good day. Right back atcha. Right back atcha. This is said with the aggression of a kid who is finding a new family, one that has a helpful mom.

Finally he has exited the van. I look left to make sure I am not hitting another tardy kid on my way out but something pulls my attention back to the curb. There he stands, GLARING, blowing me a kiss, with a hand motion like a karate chop.

I blow one back and he squints his eyes in judgement. Another transgression for the list.

Lets see if he makes it home this afternoon, at the very least I hope he told Ollie his new address.

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Anna Rosenblum Palmer is a freelance writer based in Denver, CO. She writes about sex, parenting, cat pee, bi-polar disorder and the NFL; all things inextricably intertwined with her mental health. In her free time she teaches her boys creative swear words, seeks the last missing puzzle piece and thinks deeply about how she is not exercising. Her writing can be found on Babble, Parent.co, Great Moments in Parenting, Ravishly, Good Men Project, Sammiches and Psych Meds, Playpen, Crazy Good Parent, and YourTango. She also does a fair amount of navel gazing on her own blog at annarosenblumpalmer.com.

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