One of the girls yelled, “Turn the music up!”
“Did you say turn it up or turn it off?” I asked. It was kind of hard for me to hear her over the din of the other five girls.
“UP!” more than one of them said.
Every Tuesday for the past few weeks, it’s been my job to drive six fifth grade girls home from show choir practice. SIX TWEEN GIRLS. This carpooling job is not for the faint of heart. It takes all my concentration to pay attention to the road with my minivan full of giggling, gossiping girls.
Last week, I had an oldies radio station playing, “oldies” being a relative term, since I was listening to 80’s music and that’s certainly not “oldies” to me. I was asked immediately, however, to change the station to more current music. They prefer Bruno Mars over REO Speedwagon and I’m okay with that.
The back row of seats is the prime spot. Is it because those seats are the farthest away from me, the adult, or because the three girls that fit back there get to talk to most, and the other girls turn their heads to join into the conversation? Probably a little of both.
It is dinner time when I pick them up and they always ask me if I have a snack for them. I don’t, because then I’ll disappoint them when I forget to pack a snack next time. I feel a little guilty that I don’t have something for them.
While I’m driving, I listen to the girls sing along to the songs on the radio when a good one comes along. I don’t interrupt as they talk about crushes on boys. They are at that in-between age where they want to have crushes, but most boys still have cooties.
How well I remember being that age! I remember carpooling to my volleyball games, listening to Queen sing Another One Bites the Dust on the radio, not knowing the real meaning of the song and feeling so clever as we drove past cattle farms, changing the lyrics to “another cow bites the dust!”
The car grows quieter as each girl is dropped off. They wave a cheery “Thank you, Mrs. Grabske!” as they head for the warm lights of home. Finally, I drive to my house with my daughter, ready to eat the tortellini soup that is waiting in the crock pot.
This is motherhood. There is nothing more like the suburban mom stereotype than driving a minivan and carpooling. And I’m going to roll around in that stereotype like a puppy in stinky ol’ socks and make it stick, because I’m so lucky. Because I have THIS life, stereotypical as it may seem.
THIS is motherhood after breast cancer.