I caught myself looking in the rear view mirror while driving yesterday searching for the little girls who used to sit in booster seats singing away to the radio and they were gone. In fact, they have been gone for a long time.
Those two bickering but adorable sisters are now 17 and 13 and rarely sit in the back seat anymore; heck, they are rarely even passengers in my car now. Somehow, I still could see their sweet faces in my memory and I cried. I cried like a blubbering fool while I sat forever waiting for the train to figure out if it was going to sit or maybe move down the railroad tracks. I wondered if all of the other drivers could see me crying or even notice but it still did not stop the tears.
When you are a new mom, you hear it all the time: “The days go slow, but the years go fast,” and you smile and nod because you think they are crazy. But then those babies hit kindergarten and you start to realize how freaking fast the time really does go by because suddenly your kids are old and you are the “old mom” who tells all the younger moms parenting tricks and stories which they kindly listen to but probably don’t want to hear.
Sitting at the railroad tracks crying like a baby, I think of all the made up games I would create to entertain my daughter on her way to daycare and all the KIDZ BOP CDs we would listen to. She would constantly chatter and talk nonstop about everything and anything which she still does but now it is not in the car with me. I suppose it is nice that I get to listen to my music now and don’t have to talk when I do not feel like talking or make up some crazy alphabet game. My car is definitely cleaner now too, without sippy cups everywhere and French fries in crevices I could never reach—I guess that is a plus as well. People even now remark about how clean my car is and I no longer have to move soccer bags, dance bags, book bags and every other imaginable bag to the trunk so someone can ride with me.
However, I am still sitting at this forever long railroad crossing crying over my lost passengers. I would give anything to sing along with Barney one more time in the car and watch that curly-headed angel sing loudly with me. Or have my chubby blonde toddler fall asleep snoring away in her car seat before we even made it out of the neighborhood because a warm, cozy car always made her tired.
But then the annoying bluetooth interrupts my pity session and sad song melody. It is my oldest daughter. She excitedly tells me her homecoming dress has arrived and can I go with her to pick it up? The dress shop is 45-minutes away, and even though she has her own license and car, she wants me to drive her over to pick it up. And little sis wants to go, too.
I dry my tears because it looks like I am going to have some passengers after all.
My big girls still need and want me to drive them places, as infrequent as it is, and it looks like I am going to see their reflection in my car mirrors one more time. And they are going to sing and play their music even though it will be songs I will not be able to sing along with and will probably despise. AND I am sure once we get home from our adventure, there will be drink cups, jackets and other teen stuff left in my car.
My heart is happy again and I swear to myself that I won’t complain when I am finding French fries in those crevices later.