We have to use a buzzer to get into the school after hours now, for aftercare pick up. There's a light that shines out into the late-afternoon darkness, and I imagine us parents look like shadowy figures at best. I'm wrong though. The aftercare director has caught me mid-yawn, and tells my daughter that I need a nap.
I had the kids take the bus home some random afternoon, when we were anticipating snow. This year our ability to cope with snow seems incredibly diminished. I've always been anxious about dealing with the snow, but it sounds like the rest of society, or at least the weather forecasters, has caught up to my level of fear. Now, everyone is shutting everything down all the time. Max doesn't ever take the bus home, and I don't think he understood that it was because of impending snow. The next day, he asks if he can take the bus home every day.
I'm back at aftercare pick-up. Max is making a snowflake, but has cut the wrong side of the paper and it's more of a skinny X than an intricate, symmetrical design. "It's a long day," the teacher tells me. I internalize this failed snowflake, but tell Max it's just like every other snowflake out there: perfectly unique.
My mind works in song lyrics.
"It's a long day, living in the suburbs,
When you don't have, time to play in the yard.
I'm a bad mom, cuz I can't be at the bus stop,
I'm a bad mom, cuz I'm breaking his heart."
I cry as I walk to the train in the early-morning darkness.