The Afterwork, Afterschool, Daycare Pick-Up Rush
Ed Sundukovsky shares stories from Toronto’s West End
Coming home from work is easily the best part of my entire day. At not a second past five, I’ve already got my apron and whites off and I’m out the door with key and coat in hand. I jump into the whip and back out onto a one way street, hitting the gas and peeling out a bit. I might have looked cool, except that I’m driving a minivan. I’m in a hurry because Kris is waiting for me on the corner outside of her work. I can’t wait to see her either.
I fight my way across Wellesley, inching along while the seconds tick by. Cyclists zip by on their fixed gear bikes, laughing while they pass me easily. “Fools!” they exclaim at the cars while they fly ahead. Naturally, I hit every red light on my way, but I can make her out waiting for me off in the distance. When I pull up to her, I’m always surprised at how great she still looks after an eight hour day. She gets in and we get going.
When the light turns green the race is on to pick up both kids by 6pm. In the car we chat about our day and decide what we’re having for dinner and who’s going to make it, and remind each other of the small chores that need seeing to. In the meantime I drive up to yet another red light. I kiss her hand, waiting to make a right onto College. Kris is keeping me up to date on office gossip when a good song comes on the radio. I turn it up as we make the turn and head due west towards home. It’s an orangey pink sky, and the sun is setting into our eyes. She squeezes my hand as I go through a yellow light. It’s a perfect moment, but the dread is looming in the shadows as we head towards Mordor.
We drop into silence as we approach the day care centre, savouring our last moments of what life is like for people without kids. I pull up to the curb, full stop. Kris jumps out, running up to the door to collect our second-born. In a flash she’s headed back towards the van. Lillian is so happy to see me and Kris. She keeps repeating “Hi daddy!” over and over while Kris straps her into the car seat. In a heartbeat our peaceful atmosphere is gone and replaced with a bouncing, shrieking child.
As I head the van back onto the road to get Phia from school, Lillian starts to kick me in the back, demanding a treat from mommy. When we finally get to Parkdale P.S. Kris already has one foot out the car door before I’ve even stopped fully at the curb. Lillian is now demanding that she also pick up “sissy”. Then I tell her that we are in a rush to get home she turns on the water works and starts to lose her shit. By now Sophia is bounding towards the van with Kris picking up the rear. They both get in the vehicle and we fasten their seatbelts. We’re off again – this time with the finish line in sight.
I know it may be crazy, but it’s my favorite part of the day, and I can’t wait to do it again tomorrow and the day after and the day after and the day after that and the day after that…
Photo by windsordi via Flickr