My Dearest Beloved,
I write to you from the heart of all that is horrific and bad, where there is much weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. I find myself deep in the bowels of enemy territory, a no-mom’s-land where loyalty lines mean naught and every soldier battles only for themselves. Yes, my dear, I find myself stuck in the after school pick up line.
Weep not for me, as I do not relish in your grief. I am fueled not by the tears of my loved ones but by the rage that burns within me.
Karens to the left of me! Karens to the front! Still I trudge, half a car, half a car, half a car onward.
Onward my noble steed inches, slowly growing closer to freedom. My minivan idles – our progress halted!
A mother who has apparently been parted from her dearest child for more than the standard 7 hours has suspended all pick up operations so that she may exit her Land Rover and embrace this long-lost offspring. It seems they have not only been parted by great time and distance, but have also forgotten the increasingly agitated throngs behind them, as they begin to discuss their days. Right here. In the pick up line.
The cavalry sounds the alarm by way of a coach’s whistle, and the Land Rover is hurried away. We breathe relief and inch hopefully forward to the muffled battle cadences of Biggie and Tupac from various vans surrounding us.
Alas, my love, our procession is interrupted yet again! I fear this time may be worse, as it appears a rogue grandparent has been dispatched to fetch the children and not been instructed on the treaties of the pick up line. They park. They exit the vehicle. In horror we watch as they walk towards the office. How long we shall be furloughed here, we do not know. I fear we have not the supplies necessary to last through a grandparent pick up until I discover half a package of Skittles I promised our dear heirs I would “save for later”. This occurred about 8 months ago, but in battle we are all brave. I am nourished. I move onward.
What’s this? A Tahoe sounds a battle cry in a steady stream of honks! Chaos abounds – it is every mom for herself!
Karens to the left of me! Karens to the right of me! Karens to the front!
The lines are dissolved, we are no longer a regiment but a hive. Swerving, swarming, buzzing, beeping. We are all here in the same desperate attempt to retrieve our children, all attend this event with the same desired outcome, yet none respect the other, all battle for the exit. Rage, rage against the last spot in the line! Rage, rage against the one who cuts you off!
Onto the battlefield limps a child, heavily burdened with a graded project they have been tasked with returning home. I squint – ’tis our burdened child! She moves slowly, slower than the pick up line. Her feet shuffle nervously, her arms bear the weight of the diorama unsteadily. I panic. Shall I rescue her? Shall I leave safety of this Caravan and toss all agreed-upon rules and standards to the wind in order to come to the aide of our child? Do I dare park this steed and brave the outside, assist the weaker ones in their journey?
No, because this is the freaking pick up line and you don’t get out of the car.
My gaze turns steely as my resolve hardens. Silently I will strength towards her, wordlessly I encourage her with my stare. She will make it. We all must make the journey, we all must allow ourselves to be hardened by the pick up line. I cannot grow soft now, not in the heat of battle. I cannot betray all I have stood for in order to open a door. She will make it, and we will all be stronger for it.
My beloved, as our offspring approaches I must take my leave of this correspondence. I pray all is resolved soon and we may be reunited once again. Until then, remember me. Remember us all who find ourselves thick in the strife and struggle of the pick up line. Remember our campaign to fetch our children and wish us swift victory. But do not weep for us, dear one, no. Instead join us in our rage, encourage us in this noble combat we endure, not hand-to-hand but bumper-to-bumper. Do not weep for us, my beloved. Instead, order us pizza for dinner tonight, because the pick up line is the worst.