Yo’ Mama: Singin’ the school car line blues

Written by on October 30, 2012 in Fort Mill, SC, Yo' Mama - 8 Comments

Chaos in the car line at an elementary school is not pretty.

It was I, the same person who spews bad words and insults the intelligence of those who don’t understand the rules of four-way stop signs who caused car line problems.

In my defense, I usually walk my kindergartener home from school. From my vantage point I’ve watched the car line move smoothly for a month thanks to the school staff and safety patrols. Add to that my previous experience at preschool car line, and one would assume from my impressive resume that I’d be able to handle the job.

As directed by the schooI handbook, I arrived early with the official car rider name plate completed in Sharpied, all caps and displayed prominently in my vehicle. When the vice principal announced each child’s name over the PA system whose ride was waiting, I heard him say my son’s name.

Children exited school and entered cars. My son wasn’t one of them. I was holding up the line.

All of the fifth-grade safety patrols stationed throughout the half circle beckoned wildly for me to pull forward, as I imagined them giving me side eye and shaking their heads. (I was also a safety patrol back in the day. We were so safe we literally wore hard hats to complement our florescent sashes. You would think my alumna status would give me some street cred.)  So I drove, minivan door agape. Stopping at the final safety patrol’s station (and holding up the line again), I informed her that my son must be confused because he always walks home.

The vice principal came to the rescue, asking if I had written a note that my usual walker would be a car rider today.


“Um. No. Was I supposed to?” I replied weakly.

Apparently so. As I slinked into a parking space as smoothly as my mom-mobile would allow, I spotted my son standing on the hill in our usual after school meeting place. I ran as fast as my former safety patrol legs would carry me between two vehicles currently in the carline.

And was admonished to use the crosswalk by a safety patrol.

“Sorry! I’m new here,” I explained.

More shaking of fifth grade heads.

“Your van door is open,” another one informed me.

So to my fellow car line parents, please forgive me. I’m now schooled on car line formalities. As atonement for my transgressions, I will begin mumbling obscenities instead of screaming them the next time someone doesn’t adhere to four-way stop rules.

This piece originally appeared in the October 31, 2012 edition of The Fort Mill Times

8 Comments on "Yo’ Mama: Singin’ the school car line blues"

  1. Leslie November 2, 2012 at 9:36 am · Reply

    I am still trying to figure out what the rules of the drop off line are-we either getted stopped WAAAAAYYYYY back where the sidewalk begins leaving the boy a quarter mile hike to the front door (with his NEVER IN A HURRY swagger he barely can get to the doors before lunch time) or I am the car that gets right in front of the doors and still has child inside. Why is there no etiquette book on this? You should write one….

    • Tricia November 2, 2012 at 10:11 am · Reply

      If I knew the rules, I’d gladly share. Maybe I’ll make up my own and demand everyone follow them. That’s what I usually do anyway.

  2. Laine Griffin November 5, 2012 at 6:16 am · Reply

    I have only heard stories of these car lines. We do not have this, fortunately! And I can’t believe they let kids do those jobs!

    • Tricia November 5, 2012 at 8:44 am · Reply

      They are really very helpful – if you know how they work. Thanks for commenting, Laine!

  3. Julie Kaloz November 9, 2012 at 9:24 pm · Reply

    This reminds me of that scene in Mr. Mom – “you’re doing it wrong”. Reach back into your blocked 80′s memories and it will definitely validate your feelings about the dreaded car line :)

    • Tricia November 10, 2012 at 5:57 pm · Reply

      John said the same thing. I remember that movie, but not many of the details. :)

  4. Jennifer Edwards August 6, 2013 at 2:27 pm · Reply

    Hey Tricia! I am also a Fort Mill resident, parent and fellow blogger. I can totally relate and am looking forward to another first week of chaos coming up at the elementary school. Should be fun this year because my youngest goes to kindergarten *sigh*. He’s a bit of a free spirit so I have to admit I am a little nervous about his first year in elementary school. The one saving grace is that he has the same kindergarten teacher that my daughter had, so I feel like they should understand that I really am a good parent, right? LOL!

    I love your blog!

    • Tricia Oakes August 7, 2013 at 5:02 pm · Reply

      Hi, Jennifer! I’m already nervous about a new school year starting, but I’m also ready to get back into a routine. And yes, when my three-year-old rolls his eyes at his teacher, I hope they know that he didn’t learn it from me. Except everyone knows he did.

      Thank you for dropping by and introducing yourself!

Leave a Comment