Drivers Ed

"You'd better watch your speed."
"I'm not going that fast."
"Oh for Pete's sake, I was only a little over the limit."
"You aren't setting a good example for the kids. A mother is supposed to teach them right from wrong."
"They're not paying any attention to my speed."
Flashing lights and a siren interrupt our conversation. 

"You've got to be kidding!"

"Told you."

I pull over on a side street, feeling like an idiot. The officer approaches the car as I roll down the window. Thank God we are up-to-date on our sticker.  

The kids are wide-eyed in the back. This is their first experience with Mom breaking the law. I tell the boys not to worry, he's just doing his job. I pull out my license anticipating the officer's request. My smart-ass attitude has morphed into a contrite, polite, respectful, responsible mother who has a high regard for any person enforcing the law. 

"The speed limit is thirty-five and you were ten over, ma'am."

"I apologize. I didn't mean to be speeding, I assure you."

"Everyone got their belts on?" He looks inside the van and sees we're all buckled in. A smug pride washes over me like a schoolgirl who desperately wants to be the teacher's pet and just got the nod of approval. I hope he likes me. I hope he sees what a wonderful family we are. I hope he doesn't notice the wrappers, crumbs, sticky puddles and general disarray inside the car. I'm a good mother, really I am. 

Just as he's pulling out his ticket pad, the radio on his hip crackles. There is a house fire in town. His focus is pulled immediately and he gets a serious look on his face. "I have to respond to this call. Drive safely and watch your speed."

We all stare in amazement as he trots back to his squad car, hops in, pulls a u-turn and speeds away.

"Wow! That was cool. He really had to handle an emergency. See boys? Police officers are here to help people. The best part is, I'm not getting a ticket thanks to someone's burning house! Who would have guessed someone's tragedy would turn out to be our blessing? I can't believe the timing! Can you believe this Brad?"

"Mommy really lucked out." He's thrilled there will be no money pinch on this one.

"Naturally we hope no one is hurt and the fire is put out right away, but this is suh-wheeet. Okay boys, we just learned a valuable lesson. If I ever get pulled over again, one of you has to whip out a cell phone and call 9-1-1 to report a fire before the nice policeman makes it to our car. You got that?"


"You really know how to turn everything into a life lesson, don't you?"

"Thanks, honey. It's what I do."