Wednesday, August 19, 2009


On Sunday morning, I decided I would ponder the carpool situation in the shower. Like Oprah, I do my best thinking there. How can I make the carpool as simple as possible, I wondered. How do I minimize the variables, other than dropping out completely, which doesn't seem sportsman-like, given the carpool was my idea in the first place.

Halfway through soaping up, it came to me: Divide and conquer. The two families who only want to carpool in the morning should carpool together, and the two families (one of which is mine) who want to carpool mornings and afternoons should carpool together. Easy as pie!

And, amazingly enough, this plan seems to work for everyone. Except for, of course, the family I've paired up with. Suddenly, they have doubts. Is carpooling really worth the extra time and effort? They have a preschool child to get to school, too, and a nanny who can pick up in the afternoon ... Is a carpool what they really need right now? Maybe next year would be better.

You know what? I no longer care. It would be nice to have someone drive Will home from school, but I'd enjoy that time with Will, too. Will is delightful company and, unlike Jack, will actually tell me what happened during his day. If you take Jack's word for it, nothing has happened at school for the last six years and no, he hasn't really learned anything new. Will's school day, on the other hand, is filled with intrigues and battles and actual knowledge being passed from teacher to student. It is a vibrant, lively day, and he's happy to share the details.

I think deep down in my heart I'm starting to accept the fact that I will never be like my mother, standing in the doorway in her bathrobe, a cup of coffee in her hand, cheerfully waving goodbye to us as we boarded the big yellow school bus. I'm always going to have to suck it up, get dressed, and hit the road by 7:30 a.m. There's no getting out of it, no amount of carpooling that will save me from my fate.

But it's only for twelve more years. And I'm sure the minute Will heads off for college, I'll wish I had the chance to do it all over again.


My mom saw her oncologist yesterday. The news was mostly good: Her cancer is at stage zero, her white blood count has stabilized, her red blood cells are healthy. The bad news is that her doctor thinks she may have the kind of CLL that is more progressive than some other kinds (but, thank God, she doesn't have the kind that's downright aggressive). It is a "time will tell/watch and wait" situation.

I asked her how she was feeling emotionally, and she said, "Disappointed." She's done everything right--exercised regularly since her thirties, eaten all her broccoli, stuck to a low-fat diet, doesn't smoke, only drinks on occasion. She did everything she was supposed to do, and still she has cancer.

The good news is that there's hope. She may still get her wish and die in her sleep right after her hundreth birthday. And in the meantime, if we were ever prone to taking her for granted (what? take your mother for granted? perish the thought!), we won't anymore.

That's for sure.


Gretchen Joanna said...

I really enjoy your thought processes in working through the carpool question. Thanks for putting it in writing!

Tracy said...

Love the shower thinking ~ I remembered something I shouldn't have forgotten in there, this morning!

Will sounds like all 3 of my kids. Chatterboxes. Although in the car it is the one time of the day they tend to be silent...still, if asked they will pour out their stories in the 6 minutes it takes to get home.

I hope your Mum is able to think on the positive once she's had a chance to mourn her disappointments. We have a lady in our church who as had cancer for about 5 years. She tries new drugs and therapies and continues on. It's a hard road, but she is so gracious and acknowledges that without this journey she would never have seen how faithful God is.

Pom Pom said...

One day as we were driving the kids to school, a boy had a bike crash. The mother arrived shortly to help, dressed in her cute flannel nightie, right on the main drag with all the buses and parents driving by. I loved it. She survived. So, I'll wear my monkey dress if you'll wear your jammies to school!

Gumbo Lily said...

Oh! Another good thing about driving your own kids'll learn all the new pop music on the's very enlightening.

Jody (mom of teens & twenties)

victoria said...

I am glad to hear there was some good news for your mum.
Always enjoy hearing about your school related politics. It chears me up!!

victoria said...

And how did you get deal with the facebook thing? (I'm scared of facebook, got too many social things going on already!!)

Angela said...

When the British entertainer Roy Castle, announced his illness on tV, he declared "Cancer is not a sentence, it is just a word"

Praying for your Mum. Enjoy your time with Will, and stuff the Carpool idea!!

Jeannette said...

Having just read a number of your blogs, I, who have never met you, may know more about you than the facebook highschool reconnect. I just dropped 2 folks off facebook that had found me...I told each of them a pleasant memory I had of them from the old days, but they live far away and at the crux of things we don't share the essentials. If I was wanting to network for something in a line of work, then an everyone climb on board facebook would work, but for personal connections to stay close with folks I actually have shared with, I have decided to to keep it trimmed. I think telling the woman willing to drive that you are honored but don't have the juice for it right now would be perfectly appropriate.

I laughed at the similarities of our pursuits...we could have some discussions to avail. I read your other blog...I see your desire... been to those churches... Hope you'll write the story and keep all the absolutely essential parts of the story of all stories.

Left-Handed Housewife said...

Gretchen, Thanks! My thought process bares a strong resemblance to my writing process--I have to revise and revise before I finally figure things out.

Tracy, Will's the same as your kids. He can be quiet when I pick him up, but a question or two is all it takes to get him talking.

My mom is generally a very positive person, and I think once she gets used to the idea of having a chronic illness, her mood will stabilize. She's definitely in the mourning stage of things, but I don't think it will take long for her to move into acceptance.

Pom Pom, When Jack first started out at Our Fine School, there were mornings when I drove him in my pjs. It felt kind of subversive!

Jody, I'm waiting for the radio wars to begin. So far I'm still in charge of music, but I have a feeling it won't be long before I'm introduced to the wonders of contemporary pop!

Victoria, I dealt with the FB thing by not responding and not even going on FB for over a week (I don't check in too often anyway, so this wasn't a problem). I guess it's time to send a message to my old friend along the lines of "So sorry I missed you!"

Angela, Thanks for your prayers! I think my mom will get to the place where cancer's just part of her bigger picture. Fortunately, she's got a form of cancer that will allow her to live pretty normally for a long time. I know she's looking forward to the time when life feels normal again.

Hi, Jeannette, Thanks for stopping by. I agree that by reading a few of my blog entries you know more about me than my old friend! It's fun to touch base on Facebook, but I just don't see it as a launching pad to turn old acquaintances into new best friends.

I'm intrigued by your thoughts on my other blog (which I may actually continue you with one of these days) and looking forward to reading your archives as well!

Anonymous said...

A very thought-provoking post Frances. I hope things turn out well for your Mom. Big hugs, Tina xx