Are we there yet?
Nothing like a good road trip to kick off spring.
Actually, I kind of think of parenting as one big road trip. A very, very long road trip. One where everybody just piles in the car, cranks up the music and hits the highway.
And, eventually, someone’s gonna throw up.
Road trips, like parenting, usually take longer than you expect, and there are always life’s little snafus ” highway construction, detours, speeding tickets in the middle of Wyoming. But if you’re not in a hurry to get to the end of the line, you can just sit back and enjoy the scenery.
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And the scenery really is spectacular.
Oh, sure, you might have to drive through a few deserts and badlands, but just when you think you can’t take it anymore ” boom! ” you’re standing in awe looking over the south rim of the Grand Canyon. It’s the excitement and sense of accomplishment that sets us off on the road again year after year.
When Dad gets tired of driving, Mom takes over the wheel; just as in parenting, they take turns navigating the roads, giving each other a break now and then so they don’t fall asleep at the wheel.
The kids entertain themselves in the backseat, which usually involves annoying each other or making various body-part noises, and sometimes (aren’t they creative?) annoying each other with various body-part noises. Eventually everyone starts getting a little crabby and someone asks the proverbial question, “Are we there yet?”
But even as we’re rushing on, there’s something about “getting there” that is both relief and disappointment in one.
There’s so much to see along the way, opportunities to learn new things, share new experiences. Even though the goal is to get somewhere, it doesn’t make being here any less important. Once we’re “there,” the journey’s over.
Are we there yet? I look at the faces in my own backseat, already losing the chubby cheeks, the silken baby’s skin. One sleeps, open-mouthed, peaceful, and I resist the urge to run my fingers across her cheek; one has a book propped between his knees, skimming pages of Harry Potter and still clutching his favorite blanket; one bounces his head to the beat inside his headphones and looks beyond the handsome reflection staring back at him.
I think how quickly the trip has gone, in spite of all the pit stops and potty breaks. I want to keep driving through the gorgeous green spring, but I know eventually even I’d get tired of the same scenery. Plus, I know if we stay in here too long someone will have to start pinching someone. Because that’s what happens on road trips.
So, I look out the window in front of us, hoping the miles ahead are at least as beautiful as the ones we’re driving through now.
Are we there yet? Oh, I hope not.
” Charla Belinski is a freelance writer and a certified parent instructor for the popular course Redirecting Children’s Behavior. She writes from her home in Snowmass Village, and her column appears every other Sunday in the Post Independent. E-mail Charla at email@example.com
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