Carline Chronicles

Carline Chronicles

When any person arrives at the time in their life where they will soon become a parent, there are things which are anticipated with whimsical glee and wild naïveté–  newborn onesies, first words, toddling steps, trips to the zoo, first day of kindergarten… 

But there is a darkside to which no novice parent gives a second thought, and that is the carline.

If you have school age kids, I know you read that with a little pain in your heart.  I hear you.  I’m with you.  Solidarity, friend.  It seems that no matter how efficiently or inefficiently your school has arranged the morning drop off and afternoon pickup, it has a way of sneaking in and overcoming your mornings and afternoons with an undue amount of stress.  Lucky for me, our schools have incredible systems that run like an assembly line, but not without points in the morning where there may be a line from here to kingdom come.  

[Side note:  Next year, I will have three in three different schools which means three separate drop offs and pick ups and seems like some next level crazy that I should prepare to devote 67% of my day too.  Y’all start praying for me now.  Please and thank you.]

This morning, we were running a little late.  Someone couldn’t find a shoe, a water bottle was leaking all over a backpack, there was a lost dog flyer pinned to a tree at the end of our driveway that we had to stop and read… you know, typical morning things.  So when we arrived at the first school for the first drop off, there was a bit of a longer line than normal.  We pulled into the stretch of cars and began to inch forward making our way to the finish line.  We were finally about ten cars out when a gentleman in a truck came barrelling around and stuck his nose in front of my truck.  A little confused, I paused and realized that this man was indeed directly intending to cut the line and get right in front of me.  And so, seemingly victorious on his mission, he had bypassed the 30 cars behind us and shortened his wait time significantly as he pulled himself in right in front of me.  

My kids, obviously familiar with how the carline works, began voicing their indignation.  “What??  That man just cut us!  Why did he do that??  He can’t do that!  That’s not fair!  Mom, can he do that?”  

And in that moment, I realized that this situation could have gone two ways.  

Option One 

I could blow my horn, cause a scene, throw my hands in the air and yell at a man who wouldn’t hear me anyway.  After all of this, it would not change his place in line, so he would still have achieved his mission, and I would now be stressed.  

Option Two 

Let him in.  Give him grace.  Let it roll.  The end.    

And so, I chose Option Two.  I explained to my kids that this man obviously had a reason why he chose to skip the entire line.  Maybe he had an emergency.  Maybe he was a grandpa who didn’t know how the line worked.  Maybe he had a kid screaming.  Maybe he was just having a bad morning.  At any rate, I didn’t know this man’s circumstance, but one car extra in front of me probably wasn’t going to make or break my scheduled morning, so why not just give him a little grace?  He had his own stress, I didn’t need any of it.  And I hope getting in front of the line made his morning a little better.  

Here’s the thing.  I think we spend a lot of our lives living in reaction to other people’s stress which in turn gives us reactionary stress that adds to our own existing stress.  That makes me tired just typing it, and I’m not here for it.  

Think about the amount of people that we encounter on a daily basis.  Gosh, there were potentially hundreds this morning just in school traffic.  Each had their own thoughts, emotions, stress, and commotion, I’m sure of it.  Why?  Because I have my own thoughts, emotions, stress and commotion.  So when Mr. John Doe cut me off in the carline, reactionary stress would do me no good except to add to or exacerbate my own existing stress.  

How can you compartmentalize the actions of others in a way that allows you to give them grace and affords the opportunity to maintain your own peace?  When we don’t react to others, when we choose to give them the grace they may or may not deserve, we are holding space for peace in our own hearts.  We are extending some good out in the world to someone who needs it.  And we would do well to remember that everyone has their own junk that we don’t even know about.  Give grace to those around you.  Hold tight to your peace.  And watch as moment by moment, your joy slowly begins to ripple out into this great, big crazy world… Lord knows, we all need it.      

3 thoughts on “Carline Chronicles

  1. Oh Erin this was so need for me. I enjoy reading your work. Please don’t ever stop. You never know who needs to hear this at any given time. I just may save a life.
    Thank you and I love and miss you guys.

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