Our Pages

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Making Every Moment Count


 
I have been guilty, in the past, of being the first and loudest complainer about having to take my kids to carpool every morning.   I was, before this year, getting up at 6:00 a.m. , getting the kids ready and then spending the next two hours in the car taking the first child to school, heading back home to feed the second child breakfast and get the book bag packed, and then taking that child to his school.

This year marked a milestone in my life.  Both of my children are now at the same school!  I still have to get up at 6:00 a.m. every morning, but I don’t have to spend two hours on carpool duty.  I have had several friends ask me why I don’t take it a step further and carpool with people in my neighborhood.  You know the routine, I bet.  I would take my kids and somebody else’s kids a few days a week, and then another mother would take my kids with hers on the other days. 
I could do this, but I won’t.  I have come to value my precious carpool time.  Yes, my kids fight, and some days are less fun than others, but most days I learn something new or amazing about my children while the three of us are in the car together.

We have a habit of listening to National Public Radio (NPR) in the car, and this program is fodder for interesting conversation, tears, laughter and all sorts of unexpected questions that I end up having to Google the answer to.
When Phyllis Diller recently passed away, I was amazed that my kids actually laughed at her jokes that NPR played.  Who knew two young boys could have such great senses of humor. They have both asked me repeatedly to retell some of her jokes, and I have actually heard them telling her jokes to friends.

Our time in the car always give me the perfect opportunity to trap them and get each of them to tell me something special about their day at school or something that is bothering them.  I learned my older son was having a small bullying problem this way, and I learned my youngest son will always tell me something special he has learned that amazes me that he remembers it! 
I also get the warmest feeling inside when I let my children out  of the car to go into school and see them walking side by side, big brother watching out for little brother. The youngest will meander so he can constantly turn around and blow me kisses, and sometimes he even runs back up to my car window after he is almost in school to tell me just how much he loves me.  If someone else was taking them, I wouldn’t have these special memories that touch my soul and make everything else in life worth it.

I realize more than ever that it is up to me to make every moment count with my children.  I have seen people I know lose a child to sickness, accidents, or simply lose the bond with their children because the parent becomes too busy.  Driving my own kids to school is one way I try to keep our bond strong and make the most of our time together.  I am very thankful I have the luxury to be able to do this. 

How do you try and make the most of your time with your kids and make every moment count?
Have a great day,

Julie Johnstone, The Marchioness of Mayhem
 

16 comments:

  1. I feel the same way, Julie! My kids get a better side of me, too, when we're in the car because I'm not distracted by laundry, cleaning, etc. People often tell me how much they miss their car time once their kids start driving, so I try to treaure it while I can. Great post! I enjoyed it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Kari! And thanks so much for stopping by. I really enjoy reading your column and checking out your cute 'car' pictures on facebook!

      Delete
  2. I had this very conversation with the dh when he asked me why I did not let Youngest ride the bus. I like our alone time in the car! He gets in bubbling with info about his day. It's nice to have a few quiet moments of connection.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I completely agree, Deb! I love my special car time.

      Delete
  3. We didn't ever sit in the carpool lane. When I was in elementary school, my siblings and I walked to school together. In middle school and high school, we took the bus (until I was old enough to drive and had a car). It was a very rare occasion that one of my parents actually drove us to school. Sounds like you're making the best of what can be a very tedious and frustrating situation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I bet it was fun to walk to school with your siblings! Carpool can be tedious, don't get me wrong. But there is also something so special about the sweet moments together.

      Delete
  4. Julie,
    What a beautiful blog! Both of my kids ride the bus, but that doesn't seem to cut down on our car time. They are constantly wanting to go someplace, so I do a lot of shuttling them around different places. That gives us time to talk and sometimes just to be silly. Both of my kids have a wonderful sense of humor and the car has become the stage for them to showcase their quick wit.

    My son also likes to chat after his sister has gone to bed and his dad is settling in for the evening. All electronics go off at 9 pm and then he has an hour to read or just chill, so I often have him in the kitchen or living room with me talking about whatever is on his mind. I think it's harder to find these times with teenage boys, so I cherish them. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Samantha,
      Sounds like you are making the most of your special time too! I love the idea of my boys staying up and chatting with me as they get older.

      Delete
  5. Julie ~ I have always taken my son to school. Both his elementary and middle schools were on my way to work, so it seemed foolish to have him take the bus. (Plus he could sleep in a little more if I drove him.) This year his high school is *not* on my way to work, but it's not too far out of the way and it does afford me the chance to spend more time with him.

    Something he and I have always done together is watch and then analyze movies. Right now we're watching The Newsroom together, one episode a night. (We only have 4 more until the season's over.) It's nice to discuss the political nature of the show with him and see how he makes sense in the world.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ava,
      What a fabulous idea, and what a great mom you are!

      P.S. I love the newsroom! We really seem to share very similar taste in shows!

      Delete
    2. LOL, Julie! We do seem to like the same shows! We just discovered The Newsroom, but have thoroughly enjoyed it so far. :)

      Delete
  6. Julie,

    Loved the blog post. I take my kids to school and pick them up to, even though they are *dying* to ride the bus home. We have so much fun in the mornings singing like crazy people in carpool line. I wouldn't give that up for the world, not even on the mornings when they are grumpy butts. ;)

    I think my favorite part (like you) is watching my two walk to the front doors, hand in hand. Big sister watching out for little brother while she walks him to kindergarten class. I swear I replay those scenes in my head a million times. Mostly when they're fighting and I'm like: Why can't you two get along?!

    Another favorite time of mine is before bed when Hot Builder and I do our nightly devotional with the kids. We talk about their days, what's bothering them, how to resolve situations, read and say prayers. I hope to keep this going as long as possible.

    The puppy likes to join in, too. LOL!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Marquita,
      That's so wonderful! I love that you call your husband Hot Builder! I too replay the scenes in my head and rely on them when I wonder why they can't get along!

      Delete
  7. LOL! He loves it, too. ;) Honestly, I had to come up with something since Mr. Valentine is my dad.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Julie, What a sweet post. My children attend a charter school that has no busing. I have to drive them, but I like it that way. It gives me the control--not that I NEED control or anything. Ahem--to know they've arrived safely and I don't have to worry about the bus being on time or delayed. Plus it is such a nice way for them to wind down on the way home. :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. I totally agree, Andris, and I like the control too!

    ReplyDelete