Last year was the first year that I had to wait in line at the end of the school day to pick up The Daughters. Prior to that, I taught in our neighborhood school, which was within walking distance for all students, so we had escaped the excitement of The School Pick Up Lane.
Early on--the first day of school last year--I learned that the pick up lane is not the gentle and quiet gathering of like-minded mommas as they wait collectively for their brilliant and impressive offspring. I learned, instead, that the pick up lane is practice for standing in line at Hellmart the Saturday before Christmas. Forty-two dozen cars bumper to bumper being directed by a neighborhood gentleman in an orange wig and rainbow stripped shirt was not my idea of gentle or quiet. It turns out, it was a breeding ground for road rage and free-flying cuss words.
Day 2 of the school year, I told The Daughters that I'd be waiting two blocks down ... even if it was raining.
This worked out fabulously. I got an extra five or so minutes to center myself and find my zen and claim my chai and strengthen my stomach in order to face The Daughters, who had a whole two blocks to irritate each other after a full day of being separated by a hallway.
One early spring day, I sat under my favorite tree three blocks away (it was shadier than two blocks away) and noticed that the family in that corner house had gotten a playmate for their black lab. Up to this point, when I would park and roll down my windows, the black lab would come right over to the fence, stand up on the chainlink, bark his hello and then pee in my general direction. Every day.
His new playmate was a yellow lab. She was pretty. Yes, I said she.
With spring in the air and the birds chirping and the bees buzzing, the black and yellow lab nosed each other as I played Words with Friends and waited for my brilliant and impressive offspring to make their way to the minivan. There were a few high-pitched barks as they played around and jumped at each other inside their chain-linked playground.
Then, there was definite foreplay. Lots of noses where they didn't belong. Lots of tail raisin' and butt presenting. It was like the Sigma Tau Delta* parties my junior year in college. I glanced nervously at the clock and noted that we had just a few minutes before The Daughters would break through that intersection and stumble upon canine porn.
"Take your time, big guy," I hollered from the van. "Don't just jump right into it ... she'll love you more if you are patient. Give her hers first ..." Good grief. I was a doggie Dr. Ruth. Typical man that he was, he ignored my pleas for more romance and mounted his new friend right there, right then.
"Honey!" I chastised the yellow lab, "Don't give in so easy. Make him take care of you first." From the look in her eyes, she didn't care.
I had to admire their determination. When I'm in that position (sometimes literally), just the slightest bit of conversation breaks my stride, if ya know what I mean. (You know what I mean, right?) And the complete deal closer is when that conversation starts with "Momma ..." So I tried that.
From the driver's seat, I yelled through the passenger's window, "Momma! Hey Momma!" Nothing--they were persistent if nothing else. I looked ahead. The Daughters were at the corner. Damn: I'd have some explaining to do.
Daughter 2 was in the lead with her arms crossed over her chest and her legs stiff; her sister lagged behind. Ready, I'm sure, to report some infraction of her sister, she screeched, "Momma!"
What do you know? Her voice worked on animals, too. The dogs dismounted, and I was saved by the screech.
It had only been a minute, maybe two since the puppy procreation had been perpetuated. Just like that, however, it was finished. The yellow lab jumped up on the chain link, eager for more touching, maybe more holding. The black lab lay himself down, licked his boy bits a couple of times then went to sleep.