At the end of August, I started driving my younger daughter to and from high school. The “to school” leg of the journey wasn’t so bad, although there was a ton of traffic, and trying to get down the street with teenagers and parents bolting out in front of me from the side roads and near-comatose students meandering into the cross-walks. The pick-up time was crazy making; a constantly shifting sand and never seemed to be when I was available, based upon the original schedule.
So despite the proximity to my house, this Mom-driving-daughter to school arrangement was challenging. For the past two years of high school, she took the bus. But this year, she was getting her license, so why pay the bus fee? In mid-October she was eligible for her license and had the coveted road-test scheduled appointment. As I drove her to school, we might hear some interesting news story or perhaps ridiculous election discussion, and we’d grunt or laugh or occasionally comment. There were days I would make statements that would go unacknowledged, or ask questions that needed to be repeated several times to get yes or no response. Yet there was the occasionally question-directed at me-by my daughter-about what I was doing. Although I cannot tell you now what about, there were a couple of laughs. There were days where friends needed a ride, and I could listen to their (sometimes carefree, sometimes stressed-out) chatter. A couple of times I heard “How was YOUR day Mom?”….seriously!
But there was a lot of silence. And a lot of traffic. And a lot of messing up my “schedule”. And it could have been incredibly irritating. I knew I could rationally hold the perspective of annoyance. Or I could savor it…I could see it for what it was…brief moments in time I got to experience in a particular was with my 16 year-old daughter. There are lots of times it is hard-in fact quite unnatural-to take that perspective, and choosing another perspective has often not been available to me. Acquiring some mindful awareness skills has made it possible for me to choose a different response-to take a different perspective.
We don’t always know how long a situation will drag on for-or come to a screeching halt. In this case I did know; there was an estimated timeline. Either way, whether we know how long something will last or not, it really is such a brief window. I am grateful that I was able to see this window for what is was, and experience it fully.