At 7:29 on Friday morning, the car wouldn't start. It wasn't even trying to start - barely even a click as I turned the key. And Andrew wasn't around the farm this morning to help me out.
What are we going to do, Mom? asked 7 year old Anna. I glanced down the quarter mile of driveway to that distant point where we meet the school bus. Under normal circumstance (ie: the car starting), I drive the kids down the lane, and see them safely aboard before continuing to work.
Usually we were a minute or two early. Sometimes we got there just as the bus did and piled out of the car in a tangle of children and bookbags.
We had already idled away a good 45 seconds turning the key in a desperate hope that the car would spontaineously burst into life. And if we missed the bus, I would be trying to get the car fixed with kids in tow, instead of packing them safely off to school while I dealt with the problem.
If a driveway is a quarter mile long and it takes three children an average of 15 minutes to walk a mile.....oh never mind. This was no time for calculations.
Run! I shouted. Run!
They were out of the car and down the lane, backpacks slung over their shoulders. I followed but in my black heeled boots was quickly outrun by the three of them as they hurtled down the driveway.
I shouted after them: Have a great day. Don't stop. Good luck on your spelling tests. You're half way there. Keeep Moooving!
And when they reached the apple tree 20 feet from the gate I breathed a sigh of relief. They'd make it now.
Great job, I yelled, though I doubt they could hear me.
I watched the bus arrive. Erik turned and waved - a wave of jubilation, of achievement - as the three of them prepared to get on board.
Then I went inside, put on a pot of coffee, and started to make some phonecalls.