This summer, I have averaged about 640 hours a week of driving time in the car, getting kids back and forth to sports practices. That is 10.66 hours, and that doesn’t even include any driving time for grocery shopping, play-dates, post office, cleaners or general errands. That also doesn’t include the hours I have spent waiting for some of these practices to be over.
It’s no wonder my house is in such chaos or that we’ve eaten cereal for dinner.
Music booms out of the car speakers. Both of the girls sing at the top of their lungs, sometimes we open the sun roof and let the warm summer sun swish through our hair. Occasionally, I know more than the refrain and sing along, amazed at how well our sounds blend, melting together. The timbre of our voices so closely related, sometimes we sound like one.
My brain constantly pumps information back and forth, like conversations between friends. Some days are filled with “to-do” lists and daily goals. Other days are a medley of unfinished thoughts and possible writing topics. Every day is full of contentment that I am able to have these shared moments with my children. Every day I am thankful we are able to provide so much. No one is grumbling. No one is whining. No one is complaining.
The destination is desired.
Sometimes I am embarrassed or feel guilty for being so happy while others around me struggle. Jobs disappear, marriages become stressed, families fall apart, children don’t get to go to college and seniors can’t retire. My heart tries to understand how I have been so fortunate to ride comfortably around with my children, singing at the top of our lungs, on the way to expensive team sports, while someone else is riding crowded public transportation, to multiple jobs, just to make ends meet.
I am relieved that my children will probably never know what it feels like to be hungry, cold or alone. Their little lives will bloom with the seeds we have been able to plant. They know our love for them is deeper and bigger than religion, race or sexuality. They understand that they will always be able to come home.
But I still worry.
I worry they will not understand what a gift their lives are, and forget to extend grace and compassion to others. My conscious seeks teachable moments to stress the importance of gratitude and giving, but I fear that I fail often. Somehow, as parents, it is our job to not only provide love, encouragement, nourishment and shelter but also to withhold excess, so that our children become balanced adults.
Of course, our own attitudes, behavior and actions are the best examples. Things I continue to work on every day.
That is what I have been conversing with myself while driving today.