Posted by: Modern Mom | March 24, 2015

Pick-Up Line Pole Position

My littlest man goes to preschool. The preschool has a new pick-up line procedure. Parents have caught on to this pick-up line deal and most of the parents are doing it now, instead of picking the little people up inside the building like we used to. Which means that the pick-up line has gotten longer and longer and more messed up with each passing week.

Here’s how it works. The teachers bring the kids outside and have them wait in lines. The teachers then search the long line of cars for a name sign matching the name of one of their students. They will NOT walk the child more than four cars down the line. So if the first four cars are waiting for kids whose class is not outside yet, EVERYONE is screwed. The teachers deliver the child to the correct car, help them into the car, help them get buckled, chat up the parent in the car.


It takes FOR.EV.ER. So me being the punctual person I am, and the impatient person I am, I got in the habit of showing up early so I could be first in line. That way, I didn’t have to wait for slow people and their children. This significantly decreases my anxiety and anger. So, I save everyone the headache (OK, mostly me) and come early.

However, I am not the only one who has figured this out. It used to be that I’d show up five minutes early and be the first or maybe the second in line waiting. Now? Now I find myself leaving the house a whole 15 minutes earlier just to get there and HOPE that I’m at least in the top FIVE! What?!?

Who ARE these people? Don’t they work? Don’t they have lives? WHAT are they doing sitting in the pick-up line ten, fifteen, even twenty minutes early???

It has come to feel much like jockeying for pole position in the pick-up line. Timing is everything. Some days – good days – I place first. That is my favorite. Those are the days I feel like doing a victory lap. But I don’t, because then I might loose my esteemed place in line. Other days I find myself only in the top five. “What? How is that lady here this early? What the heck?” And that is exactly where I like to place. Top five.

So last week I had the pleasure of having morning coffee with the girls while both my kids were in school. Ahhh. Girl time. I love it. I cherish those times with my friends. So, I was thoroughly shocked when I looked down at my phone and noticed… HOLY CRAP! It’s 11:36! I have to be sitting in line RIGHT NOW.

I grab my purse and say a quick goodbye over my shoulder as I sprint to my car. (OK, “sprint” at this phase of my foot healing process is only an expression. Think “three legged brown bear after a heavy meal half-heartedly chasing a hiker”.) I buckle in and squeal the tires as I pull out of the Starbucks parking lot. I worm my way through town until I hit the back country roads, where I begin to break land speed records. Mario Andretti would be proud.

I turn into the parking lot at breakneck speed. The tires scream in protest. I pull around the corner to see the pick-up line. NOOOOOO!!!! One, two, three, four….. I’m the sixteenth car in line. The SIXTEENTH. I am completely defeated. Surely the race sponsors will pull my funding now.

Me when I find out how far back in line I am.

Me when I find out how far back in line I am.

And I can’t handle being further back than fifth. My patience meter tops out and my hand gets itchy for the horn.I begin talking out loud to myself, and anyone who will listen.

“What’s the hold up here, people?” My fingers are drumming on the steering wheel. “What is going ON up there?” I move forward one car length. This is like being stuck in the worst traffic ever. I begin talking to the people holding up the line in front of me.

“Hey there, guy, why are you not moving? The car in front of you has moved. What’s your deal? Are you waiting for an invitation?”

I consider passing this idiot. Can I do that? Pass in the pick-up line? Probably not. We move up another car length. “FINALLY! Thanks for cluing in, sport.” This makes me want to yank my teeth one by one without Novocaine.

“Seriously, Ms. Chatty? What could possibly be so important that you have to chat up this parent for the past three minutes? Can’t you see that ALL the cars in front of her have pulled away? MOVE! Ohmygawd MOVE.”

Finally I get close enough to the action that I can see what the real hold up is. The teachers have flyers! NOOOO! I hate when they have flyers. They have to hand a flyer to each parent, THEN, as if they believe we all can’t read, they have to EXPLAIN the flyer to each of us. Doesn’t that defeat the intended purpose of the flyer? OHMYGAWD. OHMYGAWD. I am never going to get out of this line.

By the time I make it to the finish line, I am completely crushed. I have no more energy for the fight. The teacher opens the car door and my son gets in. She hands me the flyer and begins to explain the flyer. I try to make nice. Am I smiling? It’s just not in me. Then my little man says…

“Mom, you were really late today,” and I want to beat my head on the steering wheel.

“I know, dude. Believe me, it won’t happen again.”

Me when I finally get to pick up my child.

Me when I finally get to pick up my child.

Pretty soon I’ll just be dropping my kid off to school and staying there so I can be first in the pick-up line. I can’t wait for next year when he rides the bus with big brother.



*Please do not send me emails shaming me for my driving. This is meant to be funny. I do not actually drive like Mario Andretti. … Usually.


  1. No, no, my friend! You are looking at this all wrong! You’re only paying for preschool for so much time. Any time after that is FREE babysitting! You only need to sit in line long enough to figure out how long it generally takes til the last car gets thru. Then time yourself to arrive last. Enjoy that second cup of coffee! Listen to your own fave music in the car. (don’t turn it down at ALL while they read you the flyer) Seize the free babysitting time and milk it for all it’s worth!

    This from the chick that works on the first floor of our church building, the preschool is on the second floor. They just send my kid in thru the back door first thing. I WISH they would wait til LAST! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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