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Cows, Coffee, and Giving the Finger

I spend an hour and a half in the car with my kids every morning.  I don’t think I have to tell you what that’s doing to my emotional well-being.  Yes I do, because you’ll never guess.

It’s making me happy.  Yeah, you heard me.  Snarky whiner mom is happy about driving.

I found this fabulous school for A–, but it’s a little far away, so every morning we all pile into the red rocket (our smelly van) and shoot off across the county.  We pass cows.  Apparently if you drive far enough, you run into livestock in this county.  They seem so content chewing on their grass and hanging with their cow friends.  I salute them with my ceramic mug.

I hold clutch my coffee and sip guzzle it while the kids scream at each other in the back.  I refuse to use a travel mug, because part of the coffee experience for me is the feel of the warmth on my cold fingers, the steam moistening my red-rimmed dry eyes, and the smell curling up into my nostrils.  My coffee cup is the best part of my day, every day.

Today I spilled coffee all over my pants and I didn’t even care.  This is why one wears jammies during school drop-off.  I don’t need to explain this.

I actually enjoy all some of the togetherness.  We pray, we talk about A–‘s third grade boyfriend, and Elliott asks thought-provoking questions about faith and God and why things happen.  Evie makes up stories about Ethiopia, because she doesn’t remember but wants to, so she fills in the blanks with her own version.

They scream at each other some more.  I sip my coffee.

Listening to Jamie Grace’s “Beautiful Day” on repeat while the girls sing at the top of their lungs, Elliott begs for a brother and maybe not so many sisters.

We drop A– at her fun new school, then we head to Elliott and Evie’s school.  This is when it starts to get dicey, because now we have to sit in the line for a bit and they get restless.  And by this point, my coffee is over and I’m feeling that sense of loss that comes at the bottom of the mug.

“Oh, coffee, you are so good to me, please come back and never, ever leave me again I need you, oh yeah, baby I need you bad,” she moans pathetically.

Yesterday, the weather was nice and I had the window cracked.  The kids dropped trash through it, no doubt to make space in the car, since the van is so messy we’re up to our earlobes in sticky wrappers and junk mail.  I had to get out of the car, model my lovely morning attire for the other parents in line, and pick up the trash.  And my coffee was gone.

“Oh!  Oh!  Trouble, trouble, trouble.” -Taylor Swift

Besides littering, Evie also likes to use this time to violate everyone’s personal space.  We’re parked, waiting, defenseless.  Today, she draped herself over Elliott and he reacted like she’d attempted to sever an arm.  I declared that now and forevermore all hands shall be kept to oneself by order of the Supreme Chancellor of the Van, and she spent the rest of the trip with her pointer finger precisely one quarter of a millimeter from Elliott’s chair.

As he continued to rail against the injustice of a finger and she perfectly executed her diabolical scheme to derail her brother’s last shred of sanity, I started laughing.  What else can you do when the ridiculousness of the situation washes over you?

Elliott looked at me like I’d gone nuts, and, well, clearly yes.  I said, “Elliott, this is amazing.  Your sister is expending all her energy to hold her finger as close as possible to you without breaking the rules.  Look how much you mean to her.  She has dedicated her morning to driving you crazy, and it’s working.  You are falling right into her trap!  Look at her little finger!  Look how close it is but it’s not touching you.  She’s both following the rules and steadfastly determined to carry out her plan.  We have to give her props.  Wow.”  His confused face cracked and he started laughing, too, and Evie cackled proudly that she’d made us laugh, like that was her plan all along.

Sometimes I wish I was one of the cows, just chewing contentedly and quietly, nobody bothering me (I mean, until all that udder-yanking and/or slaughtering).  But then I think, no.  No.  I wouldn’t miss this for the world.  Cows, coffee, and giving the finger to your brother all morning long because you can.  This life is so stinkin’ beautiful.

Cheers, you guys.  It’s a privilege to graze near you in this pasture called parenting.


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