This Moment: The Seemingly Endless Car Ride

A Friday ritual. 

A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week.

A simple, special, extraordinary moment.

A moment I want to pause, savor (that it’s over) and remember (someday, eventually, when it’s all just a fuzzy memory).

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No Screens in the Car

John and I are mean spirited and old fashioned in our parenting and we are at our nastiest in the car where we won’t let the kids play on screens while we drive.

Clearly we are monsters.

We enforce this rule because we want the girls to grow up with the skill of being able to occupy themselves without a screen for more than five minutes without succumbing to a case of “I’m bored’s”. I do realize that this is probably a skill they will never need to use once they leave my house. That’s fine. My dad made me learn DOS, I’m just passing it on to the next generation as well as I can.

The other reason we are sticklers about this particular rule is that we are not shelling out the money to get them each some sort of handheld screened device and you know what would happen if there was only one to share…

Fighting. One screen does not divide among three girls. We know this. Oh do we know this.

Instead my poor, deprived, screen-less girls current favorite thing to do in the car is to “collect” all the edibles we drive by.

“I get this side!”

“I get this side”

“WHAT SIDE DO I GET?!?”

“I get the corn!”

“I get soybeans!”

“I get that wheat!”

“Yeah, well I get ALL the corn!”

“You can’t have ALL the corn!”

“I got those strawberry patches!”

“I DIDN’T SEE STRAWBERRIES, THAT’S NOT FAIR!”

“I got this corn too!”

“YOU HAVE TO SHARE THE CORN!”

Yes, that’s right. Currently my girls’ favorite thing to do in the car is to fight over the cornfields we drive by.

Proof that it doesn’t really matter what you do as a parent, when in the mood kids always know exactly how to push each others’ buttons.

On the bright side, it’s working – they aren’t bored.

 

I Can’t Keep Up

It’s happening. I’m turning into one of those old moms who says things like “I just can’t keep up with my children.”

And it’s true, I can’t keep up with them lately…

The girls and I get in the truck and buckle up for the half hour ride into the “big city.” This takes at least five minutes even though everyone can buckle their own seat belt and two kids cry. Always.

Since one kid is crying, that kid sticks with it. Then something happens with a water bottle and wailing ensues. Because of the pinching. Which is, of course, because of the unfairness of life, the universe, and everything.

I am informed of all these things at top volume.

I reply in my reasonable-yet-totally-pissed-that-I’m-having-to-have-this-discussion Mom voice.

No one hears me over the wailing and yelling.

I reply in my totally-pissed-I’m-having-to-have-this-discussion-because—pinching—seriously-girls? voice.

No one hears me over the wailing and yelling.

I reply in my I-have-had-enough voice and spew totally unenforceable statements at top volume (a skill that seems to come out best when I’m driving).

They hear me, and all wailing and yelling is now directed at me.

Slowly peace descends.

Then a tear-free chipper happy voice pipes up from the back “Hey Mom! Guess what so-and-so’s brother wore to school today? A fake mowhawk and tutu! Isn’t that crazy?”

Head reeling (I thought they hated me and were never speaking to me again) I start to respond in my Yay-we-are-all-friends-again voice.

But I get interrupted because of the wailing and demanding.

I reply in my reasonable-yet-totally-pissed-that-I’m-having-to-have-this-discussion—again Mom voice.”

No one hears me over the wailing and demanding.

I reply in my totally-pissed-I’m-having-to-have-this-discussion-because-sharing-is-just-something-you-have-to-do voice.

No one hears me over the wailing and demanding.

I reply in my I-have-had-enough voice and spew totally unenforceable statements at top volume (a skill I seem to be working on hard lately).

They hear me, and all wailing and demanding is now directed at me.

Slowly peace descends.

Then a tear-free chipper happy voice pipes up from the back, “Hey Mom! Did you know North and South America are only connected by a bridge!?!”

And I find it’s true. I just can’t keep up with my children.