Running on Empty

I have a fear. A fear of running out of gas. And I don’t mean gas as in energy level (because DUDE I ran out of that a long time ago when the girls were toddlers and I have just recently reclaimed my mama mojo these last few years of motherhood thank you very much). No this is literally gas as in the fuel that makes my suburban soccer mom SUV go. I have this fear that I’m going to run out of gas in the car rider drop off line at school and it won’t be a rare morning when I have it all together. It’s going to be one of those roll right out of bed, rush like a maniac, suck down some coffee, put on some shades, no makeup, no shower, no key undergarments kind of mornings. You know what I’m talking about, I’m sure of it. (If you don’t…you are dead to me). We all have those mornings. The mornings we are flying by the seat of our pants, or pajama bottoms to be more precise.

A few weeks ago the low fuel check gauge light came on in my car just as I was driving home after picking up Miss C from middle school. I didn’t have anywhere to go the rest of the night so I just decided I’d fill up the next morning after dropping both Miss A and Miss C off. Seriously how do you parents with kids at three different schools do it? There are days I nearly have a nervous breakdown just making it to our elementary school and middle school and they are both within 5 miles of each other.

Of course this laissez faire attitude is easier said than done. I got up the next chilly morning and decided to warm my car up in the driveway for several minutes without even thinking about nearly being out of gas. I hopped in the warm car with Miss A and backed out of the drive to take her down to the elementary school and I saw it, my low fuel light glaring at me like a beacon of slackerdom. How COULD I have no gas in my car on a school and work morning? I was certain I had enough gas to take both girls to school before I actually had to stop and fill up but that nagging feeling wouldn’t let go. Probably because I had just rolled out of bed and not yet gotten ready for work. As we made the short drive toward school I began to replay mental scenarios of me running out of gas in the car drop off line OH MY GOD. This embarrassing scenario would not only scar my child for life but would crush my fragile mom ego forever. Thank God I’d at least worn proper shoes and not slippers, not that I’d EVER drop my kids off while wearing slippers or possibly barefoot. Ahem.

I pulled into the elementary school drop off line and, as luck would have it, timed my arrival at that moment when the line up of cars was moving out and I had to circle around the back of the school and line up with the rest of the world and end up, you guessed it, AT THE END OF THE LINE. I pursed my lips and dared myself not to glance at the red check gauge light. I would NOT run out of gas. I turned my car off while waiting in line and then mulled over whether or not this would actually waste gas. Finally I got the go ahead signal from the teachers on drop off duty and I practically shoved Miss A out of the car so I could head home and do this all over again with her sister and just GET GAS IN MY TANK ALREADY. Suddenly every gas station within a 5-mile radius seemed as distant as another planet. I HAD TO GET GAS.

I headed home after dropping off Miss A after what seemed like 45 minutes (but was probably more like 4.5) and to get ready for work and get Miss C dropped off at the middle school. I went through the entire neurotic drop off line scenario with her once again and then drove straight toward the gas station, praying silently I would make it, and vowing never again to let my fuel tank get so low again.

Oh who am I kidding. I like to LIVE ON THE EDGE. The edge of gas. Who’s with me?


  1. mama says:

    I never let my gas tank go below half full.
    Treat it like that is empty.
    Mom, who moved back to the country
    cannot run out of gas…..

  2. Synnove @ Don't Chew On The DInner Table! says:

    Hubbs is the naughty one in our house. I have actually run out of gas on the way to the closest gas station from home because he just couldn’t be bothered to pay attention to the idiot light. Yeah, that chapped my a$$. Not to mention all the times he has run out of gas all by himself. Last time a police officer had stopped to help him and just laughed at him after I told him how many times my beloved had done this…

  3. April V says:

    I literally thought you were writing my life story when I read this..but then realized you don’t even know me 😉

    This was SOOOO me.

  4. Sherry Smothermon-Short says:

    I am way too familiar with the whole “I’ll fill up in the morning” gig. And I never remember until I’m in the car running late. I don’t know why I do that to myself!

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