Hello, if anyone is still out there. It’s been several years since I’ve posted. A friend recently asked me to write a short column for a local newsletter. I thought I might as well share it here, too. May your holidays and rides in the car be fun and memorable! xxxooo –R
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It would be nice if taxicab or limousine partitions were a thing in family cars. I’ve clearly graduated from infant car seat mirrors to seeking ear protection from a backseat rendition of “Into the Unknown”. I respond, “Driver roll up the partition please,” but for very different reasons, Bey.
If you’ve ever rolled the dice and taken a conference call while en route to the pediatrician, you know the feeling of outright panic when someone on the line inevitably asks you a direct question. The debate on whether it’s safe or not to come off mute (it never is) ends with the answer staring back at you earnestly in the rearview mirror. And for the foreseeable future, that face will remind you to forget about making any calls that require an interactive voice response.
One of my favorite sayings is, “If you can’t get out of it, get into it.” So, I have come to embrace the wild ride that is commuting in cars with kids. When you spend so much time behind the wheel, some rituals take on a life of their own.
I have a friend who looks forward to what her family calls, “Car Seat Confessionals,” a deep-dive into the big events of the day. Another friend’s family game inspired us to loudly declare, “I SAW THE LAKE FIRST!” whenever spying the first peek of water. I have the habit of teaching my kids the wrong song lyrics, convincing them that Lizzo is feeling “Good and well”. On longer car rides my husband predicts our arrival time and challenges the kids to an over/under wager.
As parents, we’re always in search of the next life hack to make our days easier. The family privacy partition would certainly provide a break from the noise-polluted backseat. But then again, it would be a barrier to a lot of laughter. Shortcuts feel good when we feel like we’ve outsmarted the daily grind. But I don’t want those shortcuts to shortchange my family of experiences; the good, the bad and even the painfully loud.
For now, I’ll dip into the snack stash for an attitude adjustment and rely on earplugs when Elsa’s secret siren starts to call. We’ll keep cruising until that backseat is empty. But darn it, you can stop arguing over who saw the lake first. It was obviously Mom, you guys.