Sunday, July 31, 2011

Back Seat Windows

If you live with children and you want to write, you know that in order to do so you must steal time.  This Sunday morning, I am stealing some time.  While everyone else is asleep, I'm here chiseling away on my keyboard fashioning a memory or two.

If you live with children you also know that on occasion, they will fight.  I wish I could say it was on occasion at my house but the children in my home are more than little opportunists.  As they  have grown, now ages 12 and 7, they have blessed us with so much.  We laugh at what they say,  how they say things, how they think and the things they do.  They are indeed the most interesting individuals.  And they fight.  They fight about anything and everything.  And I don't mean they fight now and then, oh no, that would be tolerable.  They fight constantly.  They fight in the morning, they fight when they see each other, they fight when one walks through an already occupied room.  Yet at the end of the day, they say good night to each other and the next day its on again.  It feels like I'm living in the Waltons From Hell show. 

With this in mind, when we decide to drive somewhere, we have to split up the children in the vehicle.  We have a small economy sized car and well, that puts the children just too close together especially for more than a 15 min drive. We have long lost our endurance and I resign myself to the back seat with the 7 yr old Kaylyn.

I usually hate cramming into the small back seat space that obviously was designed for someone much smaller than myself.  Yet, once back there, I really have the best time.  There is singing and laughing and talking in that back seat.  I hear the conversations within the car and every now and then, I see glimpses of the happy family we are.  Underneath all the fussing and fighting, posturing for attention and age dominance, we are a happy family and we truly love each other.

Its a different world in the back seat.  There are less distractions and you see the world from the side.  Normally when I'm upfront, I'm looking out the front window or talking to my daughter and driver Jamie. But from the back seat, you see the world as you pass it by.

Yesterday, between songs, I was looking out the side window at the clouds.  What was tropical storm Don had thrown some amazing clouds our way.  There were layers of different clouds, each adding a  richness to my view. They were beautiful. I watched them for a long time as we drove while I listened to the noises of the children and the music.

As I peered into the cloud depths and layers, I spotted a bird and watched as it soared up there so high above me.  What a view it must have, I thought.  What an amazing feeling of freedom that must be to be up in the clouds.  As I watched it, the bird caught a wind current as it went from slowly soaring to moving rapidly up in the clouds and across my view of the sky.  It was flying with no effort.  Just like the sea turtles riding the current in Finding Nemo.  It looked like such amazing fun.  I remember thinking how much I envied that bird for that moment of his life knowing full well that it was not an isolated moment for him.  He certainly had wings and more than enough opportunity to fly and soar among the clouds.  But from the back seat, it was spectacular and I thought about how he most likely took for granted his stunning view. For several minutes I imagined myself that bird and I just flew.

As I often do, I pull in what I see in life and usually I can see a lesson.  After the bird had disappeared I looked back at the children and my family.  That bird had reminded me that while life is full of work just to stay alive there are moments when its majestic.  And while being a parent is exhausting and there are days when we don't think we will survive it, there are many moments of pure magic.  Singing in the back seat with your grand daughter is one of them.  That's when I reached over, took Kaylyn's small hand and just held it awhile.  Lesson learned.

My grand daughter, Kaylyn

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