Yesterday my daughter and I happened to be driving home from downtown DC in after work traffic. As we creeped along, talking about whether we had time for her to go home before practice, I said, "Oh girlie, the years I have shaved off of my life stressing about getting to work on time and getting home in time to pick you and your brother up from day care."
She laughed and said, "Remember the time you picked us up in a taxi?"
I had completely forgotten, but the memory came back in a flash. Metro had stopped or was broken or something, and time was ticking, so I left the Metro station and jumped in the first empty taxi. It was probably already after 5, and traffic was particularly ugly. I had wanted the taxi to drop me off at the station where my car was parked, but it was getting closer to 6, the day care witching hour, and I didn't have cash to pay him. This was in the pre-uber, app, credit cards accepted everywhere days. There was no way I could have him stop at an ATM, then drop me at my car, and make it by 6. So I redirected him to our pre-school, and left him idling in the parking lot while I went inside to pick up my kids, Then I had him stop at an ATM, then I had him take us all back to my car. He must have thought I was crazy. I tipped him generously, of course.
It makes me smile thinking about it now, because even though I was likely very stressed, my kids thought it was great fun. As young suburban kids, they hadn't ridden in many taxis, and they giggled over the adventure of it.
Laughing with my daughter over the craziness of Mom arriving in a taxi helped me remember that the ups and downs of parenting, the fuss and the worry and the joy, all average out to pretty darn good.
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