To make a long story short, my three children go to a different school this year, a school that is further away, and for which they are not on a bus route. I've been driving them which means instead of a 12 minute commute to work, I drive 20 minutes south to drop them off and another 30 minutes north again to get to the office.
I do this uncomplainingly and cheerfully.
Most of the time.
Because I believe it's the right school, and because education is a high priority in our house.
But also because I just read Three Cups Of Tea by Greg Mortensen. He's the mountaineer-turned-humanitarian who dedicated his life to building schools for rural children in poverty-stricken Afghanistan. In his book, he tells of seeing children walking miles each way, barefooted and often hungry, to gather together and teach themselves rudimentary skills using sticks to write in the dirt because their communities can't afford $1 a day for a teacher.
It's humbling to see what others go through to get what we take for granted. And so instead of grumbling about our morning commute, I found myself putting it in perspective. All we have to do, after all, is get in a car and drive. It's not exactly hardship. We have excellent schools, caring and compassionate teachers, and we have never EVER known what it is like to not have enough to eat.
And if the morning drive is a bit out of the way, there are perks. For example we can brainstorm ideas for journal entries. Or we can talk over puzzling math problems. Or (like this morning) we can discuss proper grammar and good use of sentence structure. Oh the fun we have, and how the kids will miss it now that they've been approved for bussing starting tomorrow.