By Kay Wyma
I love summer so much. The only thing I don’t love … well, there might be two things – are the heat (106 last week – hey, our winters rock!) and the way days zip by. They begin and end almost before you blink. At least that’s what I think. I know some might be weary from the onslaught of “I’m bored”s, but I love having nothing to do. Which leaves me wondering how summer could fly by so quickly.
Maybe my love for summer also has something to do with my disdain for carpool. Which I’ve discovered is not so much about the driving but about the sitting and the waiting.
I’m still driving this summer. We have a not-so-close-to-our-house swim team, summer school for my studier, and a summer job in an office building that isn’t friendly to bike transportation. But despite my bad attitude at the prospect of never having a break from my car, it hasn’t been so bad. In fact it has been a lot of fun. Well, except for those few weeks of smell invasion thanks to a forgotten box of Chick-Fil-A grilled chicken nuggets “discarded” in one of the car’s rear compartments.
The car has also afforded me the opportunity to learn a few thing about life that I apparently did not know. Like wave etiquette.
“Hey,” I say while picking up the rising HS Junior who chose to further his studies during the summer, “Is that kid in your class?”
“Yeah,” he shrugs.
“Oh, look. He’s trying to get his mom to let him drive,” pipes in Driver’s Ed (DE) sister from the back seat. We had just grabbed her and a friend from that school.
“He looks so nice,” I add, hopeful that maybe my kid has made a new friend. I often surprise myself. As if he is four-years-old and needs his mother to arrange a play-date, I never seem to be able to turn off my finagling. See? Still recovering.
Then I wave.
“MOM!!!” panics summer-school boy. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!!!”
“OH MY GOSH,” screech the girls from the back seat. “MOM! Stop!”
“What?” I stop short, thinking I have run over something or someone.
“You can’t wave at him!… MAWWMMM!!! … I can’t believe she just did that” I hear in unison from the three teens in my car.
“What do you mean, I can’t wave at him.”
“Um… He goes to HPHS and is a SENIOR. You don’t wave at a Senior.”
“What?” I’m confused. “He looks like a nice kid.”
“Sure he’s a nice kid. But you don’t just go around waving at people,” informs summer school boy. “Especially Seniors!”
“Mom,” explains DE daughter, “you think you can just wave at anyone. It doesn’t work like that.”
“What?!” still confused. “Barton was with me yesterday and she waved at a yard guy. It was nice and friendly. And I’m pretty sure it made him feel good.”
“Yeah,” adds DE friend, “you can friendly wave at a yard guy, but not at a Senior.”
“Mom, you only friendly-wave at a kid if they wave at you first,” continues DE daughter. “Or if you both caught each others eyes accidentally and need a wave to diffuse the awkward.”
“Ohhhhh,” groans summer school kid, trying to hide his face from the Senior’s car. “Just go. Please go.” Then adds “…soooo embarrassing.”
“My mom embarrasses me, too,” adds the friend.
Apparently, I don’t stop there. A catchy little tune came on the radio. I guess I just couldn’t stop myself from singing along.
The kids are used to it.
Even with friends around.
“We found love in an office space,” I groove (literally, which I admit warrants an “embarrassing” moan. But I don’t usually realize how grooving I can be.) “We found love in an aahhh-fiss space.”
“What?” protests a kid from the back seat. “Those are NOT the words! Oh puh-leeez. First the completely inappropriate friendly-wave then the singing. Which in and of itself is enough… but couldn’t you at least sing the RIGHT words?!!… Office space?! That just doesn’t even make any sense!”
“Yeah… my mom is kind of weird, too.” whispers DE friend in an effort to comfort.
“It’s ‘hopeless place’ not ‘office space.’” eyerolls summer school kid who reaches to change the station to classical.
Oh well. I’m always open to learning.
Kay Wyma is the author of Cleaning House: A Mom’s Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement. She shares the hilarity and the tears that come with raising adolescents & teens on her blog The Moat … because who wants to walk that road alone.