I was traumatized this morning. In an effort to save time and keep my stress levels low, I started carpooling with another family to get my child to her new school downtown. The father of the other girl wanted to drive all this week. Each day he was to meet me at the train station at 7:10 so that I could catch the train when it comes at 7:15. Day one. He arrived at 7:10. Day two, he arrived at 7:14, causing me to rush to kiss my child goodbye and run to the train from my car at the back of the lot. Day three he had to go out of town so I drove. Day four, I figured I should get to work early because I had to leave early, so I requested that we meet at the gas station outside his neighborhood at 7:00 am. He was five minutes late. Not a big deal, but I could have walked to his house from the gas station in five minutes. Still I figured we were still adjusting to this new carpool and I was hopeful that it would work out.
It won’t work out. This morning I experienced the worst moment of my life as a parent. The logistics of getting my child to and from school have been stressful, but they seemed to be working out, especially with the city buses. Virginia has gotten to my work each day after school very smoothly and on time. She is handling the city buses with ease. She even has a few friends that she can talk to. I feel I can relax about the prospect of her riding the city buses now. As long as she does her part, the city buses are reliable, safe, and always on time. Unfortunately I cannot say the same with my carpool.
This morning I am waiting at the train station. 7:10 was suppose to be the meeting time. At 7:15 the train is pulling in. I call Mr. K and inquire as to his whereabouts. He tells me he is pulling in as we speak. The train doesn’t wait for anyone…even if you are walking towards it when it is time to leave. I have seen it leave people. So, I tell Mr. K that the train is here so I have to run, and I will leave Virginia at the car, which is what I do. After all, if he is pulling in, he should be to her before I turn back around to look back. I step on the train, turn around. I don’t see his car anywhere. The doors close and the train pulls away. No car. I grab a seat to see better out of the window and watch as the train station leaves my view. NO CAR!! I am freaking out. There is no way to stop the train or get off. I call Virginia and ask her if she sees him. She is hysterically crying. I start to lose it. OMFG! WHAT DID I JUST DO?!!! I left my 10-year-old at the train station ALONE, because I trusted this person when he said he was “pulling in”! It doesn’t take that long to pull in and be seen! I call him and yell, “WHERE ARE YOU?!” He tells me he is there. He drags it out. He sees Virginia. He drags it out. He has Virginia. He puts her on the phone. His phone. So I know he isn’t lying. She is still crying. I want to cry. I want to SCREAM! I want to call this man every name I can think of. But I remain civil. My baby is safe now.
On the ride in to work, in an effort to calm myself down, I call my husband. I call my mom. I call my friend. Each time I repeat what happened, I feel more and more anxious than the last. By the time I got to work, I had a melt down for my boss. I must have needed the release. After all Virginia is safe now. But that doesn’t change the fact that I trusted some stranger with the life of my child and I shouldn’t have. I am partially to blame for getting on that train. I realize that. But I trusted him. What if something had happened after he called me and he didn’t get her? What if……
This carpool is over. I hate to back out of my agreement to carpool, but I cannot let a grown man who cannot be responsible enough to be on time jeopardize my child’s welfare. Carpooling was suppose to make things easier for me. Make it less stressful to get to work every day so I could ride my stress-free train. Instead it created the worst stress I have felt in my life. My child was traumatized. I was traumatized.