Car Ride Conversations

“What happens after we die?” 

“Turn this song off I hate it.”

“Pink isn’t considered a girl color anymore.” 

“Ooh!  Turn this up!” 

“It’s pronounced ‘library’” 

“Stop touching me!”

“Why isn’t that kid wearing a jacket?!”

 “Oh my god do you remember that time when…

“Knock Knock!”

“Mom you’re such a bot!”

Laughter.  So much laughter.

So many eye rolls.

Brooding silences.

Loud horrible singing.

Anxiety.

Joy.

Relief.

Connection.

Disconnection.

Love.

My boys and I rarely sit down and eat dinner together anymore.  They are eight and eleven years old and they now have basketball (or soccer or flag football) practice after school, and homework, and friends, and reading, all to fit in a tiny window between school and bedtime.  Dinner is squeezed in there at some point, but it’s not the same as it was a few years ago where we would sit down together at the same time and at the table (such a foreign concept nowadays).  We used to tell each other our “best thing” where we would talk about the best thing that happened to us that day, which was basically my way of finding out how their day was because if I came out and asked them, you better believe their answer would be the same every time: “fine.”  That was our time, the three of us, together. We don’t have that kind of dinnertime anymore and I miss it.

But we do have our car rides.

I drive my kids to and from school in another town, so we have eighteen full minutes in the car each way.  Eighteen minutes where I have them all to myself and they can’t walk away.  This is when we have our talks.  We spend most of the time talking and joking about mundane subjects, like the latest You Tuber they like or their favorite new song or game they watched.  A lot of time is them laughing at something I did or said or my facial expression or the way I’m dressed, or the way I sing.  Apparently, I am the most embarrassing mom on the planet, so there’s that. Sometimes we sing. Sometimes we’re quiet.  Sometimes we argue. Sometimes we play guessing games.  Then sometimes we have serious talks on topics like divorce, politics, racism, gender equality, religion, LGBTQ+ subjects, kindness, friendship, etc.  They never say too much during these conversations, but I know they hear me.  I know they’re absorbing it.  There are other times when they open up to me about what’s going on in their friend group or their classroom.  Once in a while they’ll even talk about (gasp!) their feelings.

But regardless of what we’re talking about, laughing about, arguing about, not talking about, it is our time.  Our time together.  Time that’s becoming shorter and shorter as the years fly forward.  I am thankful for every second, because as they get older and start driving themselves, or going with friends, there won’t be many more of these precious seconds in the car together, the three of us, Embarrassing Mommy and her Beautiful Boys.  

“Have a good day at school guys! I love you!”

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