It’s True: You’re Always Driving

There’s this time as a parent of teenagers when you’re driving them everywhere, all the time. Other parents warned me, but I didn’t believe them. Where could these teens possibly be going all the time?

Oh, all the places.

Before they have their driver’s license and, most importantly, a vehicle to use, it’s all you.

They need a ride to work, to see friends, to shop, to go to the movies, to pick up that one thing they need at Target, and to do that one thing they promised they told us about (of which we have no memory whatsoever). And if you’re in a smaller town and some of these places are in the next town, you might find yourself driving for an hour when you really needed to finish the laundry and make dinner hypothetically.

But it’s precious time. After all, you’ve got them trapped in an enclosed space with you. And it’s actually wonderful if you think about it. You let them play their music. You let them talk about whatever they want to talk about. Recently, in my own spiritual journey, I’ve been so sensitive to how I inadvertently (and often purposefully) shame myself, others, and my teens by my expectations and judgements. So this time in the car isn’t for correction, my thoughts on their personal development, my criticism that she has a least five loads of laundry in her hamper to wash. This time isn’t about how she should be better at anything. In my mind, of course, I’m thinking of her getting a head start on college applications and a whole list of things I want her to do.

But she’s not me. She herself, and for this time as the sun sets over the mountain, the cool evening air rushes around us, the music blares, and the country road disappears into the distance, I have her right here with me. It won’t ever be just like this again.

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