What Does Reading and Driving Have in Common? You Won’t Believe It!

Standard

You know that old saying, save the drama for your mama? This mama is sick of drama. Everytime I turn around its something else.

Chase took his 8th grade reading test on Tuesday. The kid has been a wreck ever since. Upon completion of the test, a raw score pops up, yet there is no published passing score to date. Usually these standardized tests are a complete joke and I don’t put much emphasis on them but this year the situation becomes a little more serious. See in Oklahoma, one of the worst ranked states when it comes to education, the school system teams up with the DMV and 8th graders who do not pass their reading test cannot get there drivers permit until they do. The catch? I do believe you can only take the test once a year. Some will argue this is a good thing because reading a book on how to drive well, requires reading.However, this test is based on vocabulary, literary terms and analysis and comprehension of pieces that are just over a 14 year olds head. Someone please explain to me how identifying the mood and theme of a piece of writing has anything to do with driving a car? Enough is enough. This is taking things one step too far.

Am I Cray Cray?

Standard

I admit my reaction is often over exaggerated and unnecessary. Can I help it? I have no idea. Why do I go straight to crazy? My daughters driving is like a first class ticket to freak out town. Lately though, she has been doing a much better job and as we backed out of our parking spot tonight, I thought to myself how nice it was to finally be able to relax when she is behind the wheel. I guess I forgot driving my big van is much different from her little Ford Focus. Next thing I know the car is rocking to the left and then to the right and the scraping sound was like my cats nails on my wooden dining room chair. I cannot tell you what I was repeatedly screaming as she continued to apply pressure to the gas peddle with no intention of stopping. Just for the record, I was not praying. In the meantime, I drop the phone from my ear right in the middle of my conversation with, of all people, MY MOTHER who has the terrible misfortune of hearing the entire fiasco play out real time. Did I mention my mother is supposed to stay calm so her blood pressure does not get too high? 

After we survive what I think is a curb, a really big, oversized curb, I pick the phone back up and start laughing uncontrollably.. It was hysterical after the fact and I continued to laugh all the way home. How could I possibly be angry with my daughter when just yesterday I backed my van into the garage door? I have really tapped into my sense of humor and have come to realize laughing something off feels so much better than feeling angry or upset. I hope no one is watching me write this because I am having repeated bouts of hysterical laughing now just trying to get through writing this. It must appear that I have gone mad. I actually think I have.

Don’t Be a Jerk

Standard

This is a gentle reminder that acting like a jerk can really ruin someone’s day. Control yourself.

I was headed to take my little dogs for their yearly exam today. They run all over the car and one dog gets very anxious when he is going someplace and whines the entire way. I was already feeling a little anxious and trying to get there safely. Apparently I wasn’t driving fast enough for the guy in the big white truck behind me because as I made the turn into the parking lot, he held down his horn until he was completely past me. The noise really startled me and I was already feeling pretty anxious. When did driving the speed limit give someone the right to get aggravated to the point they act like a maniac? Just don’t do that. I hope you know better.

Leading By Example

Standard

As a parent, you have to take advantage of every teachable moment. I was on my way out of the parking lot after picking Chase up from school and as I turned onto the main road, the traffic light suddenly turned red. When the cars stopped for the light, I got stuck sideways in between lanes. I really, truly felt bad that I was stuck there in the middle of the road. I did my best to creep up on the car in front of me so people could get by me in the right lane. Almost a second after, a car came flying up beside me and beeped to let me know he was aggravated with the position of my car, which at this point, I could do nothing about. I was mad. I lifted my hand above my steering wheel and I was going to hit my horn with everything I had. A second later, Chase asked why I didn’t beep back. 

“When someone does something nasty or ignorant to you and you do it back, you’re just as bad as the person who did it in the first place.”

  “So say someone is a jerk, I shouldn’t be a jerk     back?

  “I smiled and said, “you got it buddy”. 

Then he innocently said, “what is the horn for anyway?” Just gotta love that kid.

The lesson is, two wrongs never make a right, we have enough jerks in the world already, if  something is wrong, don’t do it, period and the most important of all, think before you react.

Why Am I Always Right?

Standard

It finally happened. As a parent, I don’t want to always be right. I don’t want to be the one standing with an angry face, hands on hips, saying I told you so. Honestly I don’t. Right before I left for Mexico, I sat my daughter down and I begged her to slow down. The day before, I was following her in my car and watched in disbelief, that even with a cop beside her, she had the audacity to drive over the speed limit. I begged, I pleaded for her to drive the speed limit and I really thought she finally understood.

It took exactly 10 minutes after I landed to get a text from her that looked something like this: 

I got a ticket

Sorry

I could feel my blood start to boil. I knew it was going to happen and I did all in my power to prevent her from making a mistake that would bring about a consequence that wouldn’t make any of us very happy.

I have finally come to the conclusion that kids just will not listen to their parents. They think they are smarter than us, that they know more. What I finally discovered is that eventually life will teach my kids everything I couldn’t, one way or another. Maybe now she will slow down, maybe she won’t. Unfortunately, the decision is up to her and as painful as it is, I have to watch her learn from mistakes that she wouldn’t have made if only she would have listened.

Pointing Fingers

Standard

One thing being a parent has taught me is not to judge other parents. Like it or not, sometimes our kids do something that is so embarrassing and humiliating that we never want to show our face in public again. Slowly we learn to judge a little less and be empathetic a little more.

I remember watching the news a few weeks ago. I could not for the life of me understand how people could be dumb enough to drive into flood waters. Yesterday, I got my answer. I picked my son up at school when it started to rain. It was coming down so fast and so hard that I could barely see the road in front of me. In just a matter of minutes the water started rising all around me. No matter which way I turned, I couldn’t escape. I was trapped, I was scared and I was trying really hard not to panic. Cars were stuck on the side of the road and others were trying to back themselves out of places the water was too high. I did get out and I realized we should never judge because someday we might find ourselves in a situation we never imagined. It was a great reminder to be less critical and more understanding. Use your fingers for pointing if you’re giving directions but don’t ever point them at another person. 

Have you ever found yourself in the same situation you once judged someone for? I’d love to hear about it.

What To Expect The first Week Your Teen Becomes A Driver

Standard

My daughter got her license this week and this is an informational post about what can and probably will go wrong. Day one, she decided to drive to school from the tag agency in my husbands convertible. She was overjoyed and excited and ready to strike the perfect pose as she floated out of the building, license in hand. It was like she was an award winning actress pausing for a moment in front of the camera to remind the world just how wonderful she really is. If this was my daughter, she would probably look something like this! Oh and notice the sign in the background! Omen or coincidence, you decide..

IMG_7047.JPG

As she started to pull away, my heart rode off with her in the passenger seat. She stopped the car and rolled the window down one last time. “Hey mom, where is my school?” That is when my parental brakes kicked in and I started to get a little bit worried as she pulled away. Oh my God! She was driving around and had no idea where she was going. Somehow, probably with the help of GPS, she made it there and back home again.

Day 2 started off with the same giddy smile spread across her face. She even offered to take her brother to school. He was bursting with excitement. Later that day, when I picked him up I asked him how it went. He was thrilled to report that she drove through Sonic to get him breakfast. When I asked what he had I almost fainted….”chili cheese tots”. “Chili cheese tots for breakfast?” “Yep, pretty cool huh!” Next he described how she rubbed up against the curb as they pulled through the drive- thru. Could this story get any worse. Oh yes, it can. Later that night I got this text from my husband.

IMG_7048-0.JPG

Day 3 started off with the same goofy smile. At lunch time, I got a text from her while she was at school.

IMG_7049.PNG

A flat tire, learning how to pump gas and getting a drivers license can make for a taxing week. Oh, and did I mention it is only WEDNESDAY?

Enjoy The Little Things

Standard

I’ve been dreading today for several hours now. I love when there is no schedule, when life isn’t handing me a detailed list of things to do. As I crawled out of my warm bed and headed to the car, I wasn’t looking forward to everything starting back up. We had a restful break and I enjoyed getting up and hanging out in pajamas all day. It took me years to say no to jumping willingly on the merry go round of this crazy thing we convince ourselves is life and today was the day to purchase a ticket. As I started driving my daughter to school, something dawned on me. This was the last month I would ever HAVE to do it. Her birthday is the first week in February and in a few short weeks she would be the one behind the wheel. This moment that I thought I dreaded turned into wanting for more days and more years to have that time, just me and her. In the blink of an eye our kids grow up. I’m not sure if it happens when we aren’t looking or if it creeps up so quietly that it catches us completely by surprise. All these years, I have been the one to get her to all the places she needed to be. It’s so hard to believe that soon she will take that job over for herself. The more I think about it, the more I realize it was never a job at all. I have been so fortunate to be the last one my kids see in the morning and the first person they see at the end of their school day. Or, perhaps I have been the lucky one. The years of career I have given up have blessed me with the details of my children’s lives. I haven’t had to miss a thing and I have enjoyed the ride. Some days seemed like an eternity. The challenges and the lessons and the disappointments consumed me until I felt like I couldn’t breathe. But the important thing is that I was there for all of it, the good, the, bad, the ugly, the sick days, the sad days, the happiest moments. I was their constant, that strong tree that was standing grounded and strong, that place they would always call home. Times are quickly changing and my roll is changing too. It is so bittersweet to watch them grow. I am so thankful to have so many memories safely tucked inside my heart. The saying really is true, enjoy the little things because someday they will be the big things. Bottle them up and keep them close and remember to appreciate the love and the life in every single day.

Are You A Speeder?

Standard

There are two types of drivers. The first type drives the speed limit. They slow down when a light is yellow and usually come to a stop. The second type speeds around. When the light is yellow they hit the gas and speed on through.

I couldn’t help but notice the parallel of the way we drive with the way we live our lives. It made me kind of wish I could drive through life with confidence and conviction, never looking back or slowing down to second guess my every day decisions. I wish I could speed on through and get to where I need to be a little bit quicker than it takes me to reach my destination.

I saw a quote yesterday that resonated with me on a profound and deep level. I can’t help but wonder if this has been one of my life lesson yellow lights. Here it is from the wise Winston Churchill:

“You will never reach your destination is you stop and throw a stone at every dog that barks.”

How do you move through life? Do you speed up at yellow lights or slow down?

Be Patient And Trust Will Come

Standard

I learned something very important about trust tonight. Trust is something that happens over a period of time. It is not instantaneous and has nothing to do with how much you love a person. It is a build up of consistency that determines how comfortable you are with another human being.

Tonight I was driving home with my daughter. She has only been driving a few weeks but not enough to take away the palpitations in my chest or the throbbing dread in my head. I love her to death but the truth is I am scared to death riding in that passenger seat. I just don’t trust her yet, especially when my life is literally in her hands.

When my husband drives, I feel much different. Sometimes I take my pillow along, put my seat back, close my eyes and go to sleep. Trust is a wonderful feeling when life and repetition allow it to happen, but is also something that cannot be rushed.