Driving Me Crazy
By Kim Stokely -
I pulled up behind a minivan today while waiting for a red light. Through the rear window I could see the glow of a television screen.
Not that I begrudge you if you own such a decked out vehicle, but oh, how I remember the simpler days when parents had to listen to inane children’s songs over and over again on rides around town. Like prisoners in a torture chamber, those of us who survived Raffi’s “Baby Beluga” a hundred times-a-day became tougher parents; able to withstand the onslaught of the latest teen sensation without batting an eyelash.
And if your child is watching television while you’re driving, you no longer have to endure the constant barrage of questions I remember so well:
“Mom! Where are we going?”
“Because we’re out of milk.”
“Because you and your father and your sister drank it all.”
“Because you like it.”
“Can we get a toy at the store?”
“Why not?” Sniffle, sniffle.
“Because it’s a grocery store, they sell food, not toys.”
“Because they do.”
“I don’t know why. They just do.”
“They do what?”
“They…uh…they…” I’d completely forgotten what we were talking about. “Because.”
But lest my train of thought get permanently derailed, I’d get kicked from behind by a light up sneaker. The blue and red LEDs flashing in the rearview mirror like lights on a police car. “Why don’t they sell toys at the food store?”
And our conversation would circle back around like an airplane in a holding pattern.
I feel sorry for those who no longer take pleasure in a four-year-old’s random thoughts. I learned a lot about my kids on those rides when we had errands to run and doctor’s appointments. No one can enjoy a puffy cloud like a child. Or dump trucks on a construction site. And a trip through the car wash became a wild, underwater adventure with giant blue squids and hurricanes.
Without a television to distract us, car rides also became lessons in faith for myself as well as my kids. Nothing makes you hold your tongue quicker than a precocious two-year-old. Instead of letting loose with my anger, I often found myself yelling, “God…bless that man and help him get to wherever he’s going safely!” and “Please God, not another red light.” A premier parking spot in the pouring rain became a time of praise, “Thank you, Jesus!”
As my kids are now old enough to drive themselves, I have a new perspective on God’s sense of time. Psalm 90:4 reminds us, “…a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by” (NIV). When you’re in the midst of diapers and play dates you can’t believe you’ll ever miss the chatter, the clutter and the constant attention your kids demand. But I know I do. Perhaps I’ll dig through the basement, I’m sure I’ve got an old Raffi CD hiding in a box down there. If not, maybe I’ll download a song or two and drive around town singing “Baby Beluga” for old times’ sake.