“Are you still mad at me?” I ask my tween girl. Due to multiple carpool pick-ups and a brother that met with his teacher after school dominoe-ing tardiness for my other drop-offs and pick-ups, she was late to her Bible study. I explained to her, as she huffed out of my car 10 minutes late, that I thought it “interesting” that she was going to a “Bible study” mad because her mother was late due to putting others interests ahead of her own. …
She didn’t see it that way.
“I’m not mad at you, but I’m still mad that I was late.” she chirped. But the happy chirping quickly changed to sour. Maybe it had something to do with my inability to stop the ribbing response from coming out of my mouth. Followed by my bugging statements.
“You look like you’re mad.”
“I’m not mad.”
“Well, you look like it.” Why I do this, I don’t know.
Her sister chimes in, “Mom – leave it alone. Sometimes it’s hard when you get in the car after having spent time with really cool and fun friends to be with, well… your mother. It’s awkward.”
Awkward? … Is she saying I’m not really cool? Of course I go there, too. “So you’re saying I’m not cool.”
The girls look at each other, brows raised and eyes rolling.
“Never mind,” I offer. I guess I don’t need them to answer that question. It might have something to do with the fact that only a short while earlier I had stopped mid-ride home from school and turned the car around to chase a bus that had driven by so I could get a picture of this:
Maybe I am embarrassing… but please, that’s a funny picture. I just had to chase down the bus to capture such entertaining immaturity.
Of course, the kids were ducking down in the car so no one could see them. But since my brother had loaned me his jeep (so I could live out my teen dreams of driving around everywhere enjoying the wind whipping through my hair, golden retriever – or in my case multiple children – at my side and folks pointing at the “cool” girl), bus-riders could see right in the car.
My kids are used to me, though. They put up with and endure my singing, dancing, stopping to talk with folks, and so much more. More than I know. Here’s another conversation from our ride to school that morning.
Jack is apparently learning about the city in school. He has been feeding us information about all sorts of little facts. “That right there is a traffic light,” he points and yells from the back seat. His car-seat looks nice – and cool – in the jeep.
The brother next to him joins in. “You’re right. … Do you know what the lights mean?”
“Red means stop,” Jack replies.
“And yellow,” adds his brother, “means to slow down.” … pause… “unless you’re Mom and yellow means to speed up so you don’t have to stop on red.”
“Uh… I can hear you.” I add, wondering if they think all the wind has made me deaf. “And I don’t speed up. … I just safely make the light.”
Fury looks at Jack with an, “uh-huh – if you believe that one, I’ve got a few things to sell you” glance.
Alright… so they notice everything. And they listen to your stories even when they act like they can’t hear you… which is most of the time.
Many a ride, I’ve shared with the kids what life was like when I was younger. I tell them abut my escapades and adventures… and hardships. Like the fact that when we were kids, you had to get up to change the television station because remote controls had yet to enter the scene.
Since we were driving a jeep, I shared lots of stories of my own standard transmission vehicle. Mid-one story, Snopes gasps and screams, “Oh my gosh!! … It’s one of those!!!”
“What?!” I jerk quickly her way, looking for something major, like a hornet in the car.
“Look!!” She yells, pointing at the door. “One of those things… I’ve always wanted to see one!”
Yes… that’s a manual window handle.
Such a nice compliment to the comments I received as I dug a phone book out of a drawer to find a neighbors phone number, “What’s that? What are all those numbers? Wow, I’ve never seen a book like that.”
Snopes excitedly turns to me upon her discovery and asks, “Can I try it?”
“Sure,” I reply hoping that she was joking – about never having seen a manual car window.
“How does it work? … Is it hard to do?” she ask while wrestling to get it turning. And yes, “oohhhs” were actually floating from the back seat.
My word. No wonder we’re deemed awkward. Do these kids have any idea the challenges we have had to face in order to embrace the lightening speed changes from our dark-aged childhoods to the Jetson-esque era our kids call normal?
Thanks for walking this crazy road with me.