The first day of school is always a free-for-all.
There’s no bussing to my son’s school, and the campus hosts 500ish elementary, middle, and high school students. As a fine arts academy, the first day is full of festive faces, new and old; a sea of superlatives in plaid. The students are excited about and engaged in their environments and they bring equally invested parents. The small parking lot plays host to an interesting mix of domineering, imaginative, submissive, and cautious instruction-interpreters, each with their own unique introduction before any of us have stepped out of our cars.
This will be my fourth consecutive year of
pre-judging my parent-friends for the year
based on how they navigate the school’s Traffic Plan.
I’m a rule manager who investigates before executing, which means I have a pdf of the Traffic Plan in Evernote in my smartphone and I am VERY familiar with where we all need to be and who is hosing it up. My husband is a go with the flow kinda guy, which means that if a few people are unfamiliar with the convulted series of one-way lanes backing up the whole campus, it’s really nothing to be impatient about.
I always start the year with the intention of cultivating patience in the parking lot but by the second six weeks I’m beached on a side street avoiding the mess like a plague, letting my student come to me. In no time I’ve given away all the
f**** cares I have to stopsign-ignorers, those texting-while-walking, and more pull-ahead-for-farks-sake-before-i-pull-you-ahead moments than I care to share. Parents driving the one-way the wrong-way rarely do it more than once, but does opting out of the flow altogether do me any favors? Or am I missing a valuable opportunity to get better at going with the flow? Am I missing mindfulness for the easily managable?
Maybe. So this year, tomorrow morning, for the fourth consecutive year, I will again set an intention of patience. But instead of exhausting all of my patience in the parking lot before we break triple digits, this year I’m getting out of my car.
I’m shifting my perspective.
I’m taking my mastery of the Traffic Plan into the halls. I’m going to look for more in my parent-friends than how they navigate a convoluted and poorly labeled path on a time line in a big metal box. I’m going to yield to more conversations instead of sitting on the side streets waiting for my student. I’m going to put my phone down, look up when I’m walking, and not worry about wandering down the wrong hall. For the first time in four years, my intention is to be patient with myself. I welcome the chaos of the first day, and each day thereafter, knowing there aren’t that many more of them. I endeavor to become more mindful of strolling through these school days with the Traffic Plan tucked away safely in my smartphone, as I flow like water through the streets.
Ambitious? Yeah. But it’s really nothing to be impatient about.