Carpooling As A Widow

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Carpooling is a pain in the ass – not just for me – for everyone (at least I think so).

It is always at the time when we have to make dinner, or want to go to sleep, or need to help one of your kids with homework. We need to stop what you are doing, get in the car, pick up a bunch of kids, and drop them somewhere.  We must do all of this on time.

Dance, Hebrew School, sports (sports for other kids – my girly girls do not play sports!), parties, or a million other things that they need to go to, we have to get them there. And depending on where you are going and who you need to pick up, carpooling can literally take an hour.

But it is part of our job as moms (and dads) and we all happily do the carpooling. It’s for our kids. How else would they get to where they need to be??

Carpooling as a single person takes on a whole new meaning.

I believe this goes for all single people – widowed, divorced, whatever. But for widows/widowers it’s even a little harder – this is seven days a week – 365 days a year.

A single person cannot ask their spouse to pick someone up on their way home from work. They have no one to turn to to ask to go out when there is a late night pick up and are just really tired.  Or when they aren’t feeling great. Or especially when their other child needs to be driven at the same time.  Carpooling is all up to one person.

I was lucky to have had great experiences with my carpool situation since Howie passed away. During both of my girls’ Bat Mitzvah years, they were literally going to late night parties every weekend – sometimes two or three of them in one weekend.

There are large neighborhood carpools that are created. There are excel spreadsheets, charts, graphs, signed contracts (ok I’m exaggerating) to arrange who is driving and when.

This time was just starting for Amanda when Howie passed away. I know that one of the moms sent an email in our carpool suggesting that I be exempt from late night driving. The others all agreed.  I was so appreciative of that. Not only was I in no state to be driving around a bunch of girls at midnight, I also had a ten year-old at home sleeping. There wasn’t anyone there to watch her if I had to go out.  I did drive to the parties when I could.  They usually started around 7 PM, and at that point I pretty much had zero social life so it wasn’t too hard for me.

When Lily’s year came around, I was in a little bit of a better state of mind. And also Amanda was 15 and able to stay alone. Lily’s carpool was a whole different set of moms, but they were just as good to me as the other ones were. I did late night pick up once or twice but for the most part they said it wasn’t necessary for me to do it.  One husband said he did not like the idea of Lily and I walking into an empty house late at night by ourselves so he would always do it for me if he was able to. Sooooo nice! I am still so thankful to both carpools for helping me out the way they did.  It saved me a lot of stress and aggravation at the time.

Some people are really super thoughtful.  But some I guess are not, or don’t think about someone else’s situation all the time.

I understand that – we are all living our own busy lives and no one can worry about others in all instances. I also carry around a lot of guilt about my kids’ situation so I will sometimes turn myself inside out to do whatever I can for them and not ask anyone to do it for me. So there have been plenty of times where I am running around like a lunatic trying to get both of my kids somewhere at the same time. I have had to cut evening plans short, or cancel altogether because I needed to drive a carpool.  Yes I understand that all parents have to do that sometimes.

What married people may not understand is that while changing plans for carpooling can be an inconvenience for them, it can do damage to a single person’s social life.

Not many people want to put up with dating someone that only has a 2-3 hour window to go out because they need to carpool all the time. It’s not as if I go out that much – far from it. So when I do have plans and this happens, it can be very frustrating. Also, my girls are teenagers now so they go out and stay out a little later. Sometimes I am tired and just don’t have the energy to run out late. Like I said in the beginning, I can’t turn to a husband and ask him to do it when I don’t feel like it.

I have heard people (married couples) actually say that they just don’t do night time pick up because they like to go to bed early.  Really??? I so enjoy waiting up at night to go pick up a bunch of screaming girls! I wouldn’t rather be sleeping!

Ok I’ll stop my rant now :).  Was it a rant?? I didn’t mean it to be but like I said, it can be frustrating to be in those situations.

So if anyone reading this knows someone in a similar situation to mine, drive for her sometimes if you can. It’s just a little something that will make her life a little easier.

But the good news is that for the most part, people have been so kind and helpful, and that does sometimes make up for the ones that may not be. And the even better news is that Amanda recently got her license.  I no longer have to carpool her around and she even sometimes drives Lily for me :).

You see, as time goes on life gets a little better.  Sometimes it’s just the smallest things…



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1 Comment

  1. Cathy Koster on

    Reading about the kindness of others brought on a crying jag with me! I know exactly how you feel. I am doing the same with Paul. I want to be with him every day and so I juggle my Red Hat meetings, physical therapy, food shopping, etc. around those visits or DO WITHOUT… It is mentally and physically exhausting. On a day where you want to sleep a little later you cannot because that will cut down on HIS time. I am so grateful when a friend may call and say, I’ll pick you up because you do so much driving every day!It’s not that you’ll get some sleep but maybe fold some clothes in that time while you wait for her to pick you up and then you just sit there and let her do the driving!
    I feel for you but let the ones who want to help, HELP! The others have no clue what you are going through or are just plain selfish! Trust me, when Patti started driving Jenny to cheering or whatever, I was skeptical but grew to depend on it cause Paul was either out of town and/or worked in Philadelphia & traveled himself. It’s darn hard being a single mom!!! Hang in there, this too shall pass!

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