Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Last Five Minutes

For Wednesday, September 14, 2011

It was one of those afternoons. An afternoon when I can’t get into my car fast enough for the drive home. A day when I clench the steering wheel so tight my fingers turn white. A day when I tell myself, “Breathe”. It takes about twenty-five minutes to drive home. It’s a good thing it doesn’t take twenty. I sorely needed those last five minutes today.

In the last five minutes of my drive home I passed by the school where my two girls attended fourth, fifth, and sixth grade. The school closed before my son would have gone there. Instead he stayed at the school he’d attended since kindergarten. I was more than okay with that, however, as it has always been my favorite school in the district.

Passing the closed school however, I got thinking of my three children. I thought of how each of them have thrived in school. They were surrounded by a loving community of teachers, coaches, neighbors, and friends. They worked hard to meet our expectation that they tried hard to do their best in school while making time for fun and relaxation too. Passing the closed school I thought of the various experiences school life has brought to my childrens’ lives: Involvement with instrumental and vocal music, theater, student council activities, and community service.

As I came into the town where I live I passed by the store where we always order our delivery pizza. I passed by the plaza where my son gets his hair cut and where we used to go to rent videos. I passed by our local grocery store where we frequently stop to buy milk and bread during the workweek and by the old antique shop which used to house the cutest little ice cream shop when the kids were little. I drove into our development where my children have gone trick-or-treating and where they knock on the doors of our dear neighbors every time there’s another school fundraiser. I drove into the cul-de-sac where our kids bike and walk the dog and finally, down the driveway to our home. This is the community that helped raise our children. And a wonderful little community it is.

The last five minutes of my drive home from work reminded me of what is most important when it comes to the raising of children. Politics and the newest packaging on what’s "best" for our children pales in comparison to the people, the community that raises them.

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