Thoughts on mothering

There’s so much wisdom to be discovered along 1-75 S.

I’ve had some random things come across my path concerning parenting/mothering lately. One of which was a thought in my own head during my afternoon commute today. While I was inching (slowly, oh so slowly) along the downtown connector I found myself beside a school bus full of middle school (or maybe high school, I have lost my ability to parse these things out accurately) kids on their way to some sporting event. They were absorbed in their teenage things—I saw one girl braiding another girl’s hair, another was turned around over the back of her seat draping her upper body into the seats of her friends. The bus put its blinker on and started to pull into my lane, causing me to slow down rather quickly to make enough room in front of me, and I caught sight of the driver for a brief second—sunglasses on, brow furrowed in concentration. I thought about how I was glad only to be steering my mid-sized Subaru Forester through all this trafficky muck and not a 37 foot yellow bus full of charged, clamoring 14 to 15 year olds. But it also occurred to me: driving a bus is a lot like being a parent. When you’re a kid, you’re a passenger on the bus. You get to sit in the back and watch the scenery go by, or sing at the top of your lungs, or pump your fists at passing semis to see if they’ll honk. Trips on the bus are fun—you hang out, throw wadded paper into the rows behind you, play truth or dare. But when you’re the driver, even though you’re on the same ride, it’s a whole other experience. You’ve got to be the responsible one. The one who checks the blind spot and obeys traffic rules. And it can be kind of a drag sometimes when it’s rush hour, and you have a J.V. lacrosse game to get to, and the kids are making fun of you behind your back because you told them to pipe down for the seventeenth time. But you know that sometimes, even when you would rather be in a little red sports car with the top down, whipping through the countryside, that you have a job to do, and it’s an important one: get everyone to their destination safely.

(And sometimes you even join in a round or two of “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall.”)

I don’t know if that’s a metaphor that works, or a crazy exhaust-fume addled commuter’s brain ramble. Either way, I wrote it down.


Also, here’s an article I ran across recently. I like it.

I asked [my son] the other day about his memories of my mothering. “You sorta freaked out during the college application process,” he noted accurately. But then he wrote, “What I remember most: having a good time.” You can engrave that on my headstone right this minute.

-Anna Quindlen in her article “The Good Enough Mother,” Newsweek, Feb. 2005

I’ll wait while you go get your tissues.

You know how sometimes you sit down to check your Facebook newsfeed, just for a quick second, and then somebody goes and posts some video and you think, “Oh my! What delight is in store for me here?” and then ten minutes later you’re sobbing and singing Sunrise, Sunset while cradling your previously peacefully sleeping Kindergarten child?

No? Only me? Well, then, start warming up your vocal chords.


(**UPDATED TO ADD: This is just a nostalgic sort of wrenching video. Not a tragic one. No one dies! That would be too much for me to handle.)

The Gift Of An Ordinary Day from Katrina Kenison on Vimeo.


1 Allen { 11.18.10 at 10:15 am }

Spoiler alert; the boys don’t die.

I wonder how different my viewing experience would have been if my temporarily sad and morbid heart wasn’t waiting for the story to end sadly. Remind me to watch this again when I can feel the sunshine.

either way, Rach, thanks for the find and share.

2 ginnymom { 11.18.10 at 4:50 pm }

That could have been me…. I just forgot to write and photograph the story the beautiful way she did.

But like her I cherish the memories of those days when a child asked where his homework was, or would I please sign her permission slip (hurry up, I’m late!), or lay with his head in my lap at 11:00 p.m. when I should have been in bed, but that was the best time for him to talk and for me to listen. I remember and cherish the thousands of memories. And, yes, truly I miss those times with the ordinary day-to-day life we shared with those children, now grown up.

I’m glad they still hug me when we get the chance.

As for You, Rachel… you and L, keep making memories and loving these precious children. You’re doing fine. We’re proud of you.

3 Katy German { 11.19.10 at 2:39 pm }

Wow, I was not expecting that. I mean this. I mean the fact that I am a tearful sobbing wreck, agonizing over the fact that thee kids are already growing up faster than I can keep up with. I need tissue. And hugs. Lots of hugs. (Thank you.)

4 Rebekah C. { 12.08.10 at 2:54 pm }

In the midst of the mundane, I needed this (video) today. I didn’t need red, puffy eyes particulary, but thanks for the reminder anyway.

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