School Days: Dreading the Drop-Off Line


Ahh Summer…

I love summer.

I really do.

Bare feet. Popsicles. Parks. Sunshine. Bike rides. Evening campfires. S’mores.

No schedule. No stress.

Then it’s back-to-school time…

I mourn the end of freedom—of being loose and unstructured. But as school approaches, I try to see the positives in that, too. I build the schedule and figure out how to make everything fit and work.

By the time the first day rolls around, I’m ready. I’m ready for them to go back.

Enough trying to keep them entertained (i.e. preventing them from killing each other). Enough nagging them to get their jobs done and their summer reading done. Enough trying to keep them from being complete slugs (okay, that’s just the teenagers).

The back-to-school clothes are bought. The school supplies are checked off the list. I have read this

There is just one thing left to worry about.

The Drop-Off Line

I cannot lie. I hate it.

People with no children, or those who have never experienced the drop-off line, have no idea. Count your blessings. Seriously. This is not an experience for anyone dealing with high-blood pressure or impulse-control issues.

If you think road rage is bad on I-25 during rush hour, you have not experienced the frustrations and barely restrained hostilities happening every day in school parking lots.

There is nothing quite like the drop-off line.

We just want to drop off our kids and be on our way. Every one of us. Every. One. Of. Us. 

After doing this for 13 years, I have pinpointed school parking lots as the original source of my road rage. Seriously people. Just. Get. Out. Of. My. Way.

Different schools, different cities, different states. It’s all the same. And much of it boils down to some basic personality differences.

Drop-Off  Line Personalities

Type 1: Leave the house early. Sit at the school, waiting for the designated time to open the car door and allow their child to exit. They have the least amount of stress. They got there early and will be leaving the parking lot as the rest of us are arriving. These folks have no idea what other people’s problems are.

Type 2: Exit the vehicle to help the child out. These people personally hand their children backpacks, help them root around in the backseat for whatever they dropped and give at least one hug. These people are in danger of being run over. C’mon… Hug the kids at home, not in the drop-off line.

Type 3: Cut off other cars, go around the line of people who have been waiting 30 minutes for their turn at the curb. These are the people I am waiting to hear about on the news—beaten or killed by those waiting patiently for their turn. I hate to break it to you, but we see you when you go around or cut in line.  And we’ll see you again at PTA meetings and concerts. We know who you are…

Type 4: Probably the majority of parents in the line. Arrive at school about the time they are allowed to drop children off and discover just how many children are being driven to school. They will wait the longest. Trapped in line. Aggravated at how long the process takes, made worse by the clueless that can’t leave without one more hug and the idiots that cut people off.

I just wanna drop my kid off, people!

The Pick-Up Line Personalities

Type 1: Get to the school 30 minutes before dismissal. Hang out in their car, checking email and talking on the phone. I don’t understand them. These people are totally foreign to me.

Type 2: Hold up the pick-up line getting out of the car to help their children in, chit chat with them while they buckle  and carefully place the backpack on the floor. And if there’s an art project in hand… Please, please, please let them be behind me!

Type 3: Double park next to you and block you in as they grab their child at the curb. Somehow, the line of people waiting for the last 30 minutes is invisible to these parents. It’s okay, no problem. I can wait for your, more important, child. Really. It’s no problem…

Type 4: Arrive at school about 5 minutes before dismissal. Get in the line wrapping around the parking lot or circle the block trying to find somewhere to pull in. Frustration is ugly.

It’s Back-To-School Time. 

Every year, I get a chance to do this dance.

Just thinking about it, I am feeling exasperated.

Which is why I drop my kid off down the street. 😉

Each year it gets a little farther away, just so I don’t have to go into (or anywhere near) the school parking lot. Exercise is good for them, right? I’m just looking out for their health. See what a good mom I am? They get some exercise, I get to pick them up smoothly and I didn’t hurt anyone that day. A win-win!

All Kidding Aside

Be careful.

At my daughter’s school, we regularly have kids hit while crossing the street. (They choose to jaywalk because they feel safer doing that than using the crosswalk.)

At the elementary school, I have seen crossing guards frantically jump back to avoid being hit.

It’s dangerous out there, especially in the school pick-up and drop-off line.

And as much as I complain, I really do love our little buggers and want them to make it safely to and from school. I regularly explain to them that I am irritated to be driving them to and from school because when I was their age, I walked to school. Five miles. Uphill. Both ways. Barefoot. In the snow.

Shhhhh… (Don’t tell them I rode the bus.)


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Once Upon A Time, in another life, Kristin graduated from the University of Michigan with a plan to teach high school math. But then, life happened when she wasn’t looking…. She married an Army guy and 23 years, 3 kids, a few dogs, 7 homes, and 2 continents later she’s now a single mom living here in Colorado Springs. Along the way she volunteered for the Army, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and several schools; managed volunteer organizations, coached judo, trained to be a whitewater rafting guide, biked down Pike’s Peak and even managed to teach some high schoolers a little math before forging new trails writing, teaching and financial planning. She never knows what’s coming around the bend, but she’s learned to handle whatever life (and the Army!), throws at her with a smile and a laugh. She’s pretty sure you can get through anything with those, even if you have to fake it occasionally!!