Thursday, April 16, 2009

Car Pool

I know it sounds crazy but I love our commute to school.

It’s the time my daughter and I have our best conversations. Or, just as great, it’s a time I get to disappear into the background while she and her buddies get lost in their own chatter, spilling all the delicious candor, creativity, and outrageous wisdom that comes with being a kid -- the same candor, creativity, and wisdom that’s typically snuffed out by the time we’re grown. By then, we’re so well socialized, so neatly packaged and edited, that frankly, we’re boring.

This morning’s conversation went like this:

Mom, all the teachers’ aides and assistants have boy friends.


Well, like Bethany. She has a boyfriend.

Well, that makes sense. People in their 20’s and 30’s tend to date a lot so they can see who they want to settle down with. Dating is nice.

When do I start dating? High school?

That sounds about right.

But not right now. Kids my age don’t date. Right..?

Noooo… you don’t date. But you can be friends with boys. That’s a good place to start.

Yeah… but right now a lot of the girls get all giggly and silly around the boys.

Well that’s silly, isn’t it? Boys are nice. Boys are people too. But if you start getting all silly and giggly around them, it probably makes them feel strange. It probably makes them feel like aliens.

Yeah! And then YOU look like the alien!

Well… uh, yes. My point exactly.

My favorite carpool moment of all though happened two years ago, when my daughter was in first grade. Her school was one big construction site. It was a major renovation and the plans included a whole new middle school building. For much of the year, we watched as bulldozers and trucks excavated giant holes in the ground. We watched again as steel wires and poles and framing rose up and out of the ground. After an extended spring break, we were driving back to school and, as I turned down the hill, the new middle school building appeared, complete with siding and windows.

Hey girls! Look at the new middle school!

Whoa! Look at that. Wow…

I allowed myself a sentimental moment:

Can you imagine it, girls? Someday you’ll be in middle school.

Yeah… my daughter sighed with wonder. Then she leaned over to her buddy to share an exciting thought,

Guess what we get then!

Her buddy’s eyes grew wide with expectation,



My daughter was beaming. I nearly drove off the road.

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