Along For the Ride

By Adrienne Mead

The commute to the school that my daughters attend (and where I teach) is usually about 30 minutes.  So, on any given day, we spend about an hour together in the car.

Getting in and out of the car itself is a challenge that can be positively exhausting, with at least six bags between us.  Now that it’s winter, there are also the coats, hats, mittens, and boots.  My older daughter, who enjoys a leisurely meal, has usually run out of time at breakfast and is taking the rest to-go.  And then there are the beloved toys that also need to come with us for any number of reasons: Piggy, who is practically a member of the family; any number of plush toys that my younger daughter adores; and approximately 457 Shopkins/Palace Pets/My Little Ponies.

And my coffee. Good lord, please, my coffee.

The time in the car, however, has unexpectedly become one of my favorite parts of the day.

The time in the car, however, has unexpectedly become one of my favorite parts of the day. Sure, there are still disagreements and tears, but not nearly as many as there were even a year ago (pulling over and refusing to drive while they were screaming was incredibly effective!). Rather, our time together in the car is our time to talk.  And the setting has a really interesting effect on our dynamic together.  My younger daughter, who is usually vibrantly expressive and chatty, becomes quiet and relaxed as we drive, breaking her silence with the occasional question or observation.  And my elder, who tends to be more introspective, suddenly opens up and shares everything on her mind.  I do equal parts listening and talking, sometimes contributing a soundtrack when “Hamilton” is requested (I will never object to being DJ if it means I can share my love of musical theatre).

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