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How to survive a school pickup line

From Kindergarten to Too Cool to be Seen On a Bus (November of sophomore year,) I rode the lumbering yellow limousine to school. The driver was fond of banging a small broom on the dashboard if it got too loud and she never let us open windows. It was a mostly-miserable experience, but we assumed a bus was the only way to get to and from school. Back in the day, parents enjoyed themselves. They waved goodbye while still pajama’d, clutching a coffee mug, smiling broadly, probably waiting to go back inside and dance to the Grease soundtrack and eat our sugary cereal all day. My mom only drove us if we missed the bus. As our seething mom sped to school, we wished we were with Mean Bus Driver Lady and her broom.

Now, fewer kids are bussed. Budget cuts, high bus fees, and the ability to choose our children’s schools have led to the rise of the school pickup line. My children have never ridden school buses to and from school. I have 11 years of school pickup line experience. I’ve seen it all: The polite, the rude, the dangerous, the clueless, the ambitious. I’ve learned lessons, tips, tricks, and basic survival. The twice-a-day trip is something I’m committed to doing because my kids’ school is worth the drive. Here are tips for surviving your years and years and years dropping off and picking up children. Many of these tips are common sense, but there are some things I wish I knew when I was just starting out as a cow in the school stampede.