Friday, March 23, 2012

Being a Mom-Behind-the-Wheel

One thing I've noticed about being a mom-behind-the-wheel is that I seem to be a better person when I have impressionable young eyes staring at the back of my head in the car. Case in point, the drive to my son's school about two weeks ago. We were waiting at a stop light behind four or five cars on a side street that intersects with a busier thoroughfare. The light for traffic crossing the busy street isn't green for long, so it is often possible for only two or three cars to get through.

On this particular day it looked like we weren't going to get through the light. As I noticed this, I also noticed that the car behind me was pulling around me and the car in front of me, zooming into the left turn lane and darting through the amber/red light. She cut us both off...what the heck!

Now, the pre-mom version of me would have huffed and puffed and shouted all kinds of horrible things at the taillights of that minivan. But, the kinder, milder, mom-behind-the-wheel version of me just exclaimed something to the effect of, "That person is sure in a big hurry!"

My 2nd grade son and niece spent the next few minutes asking about why that person took cuts and where they were going in such a hurry. I offered all kinds of explanations about where they may be going in such a rush. Perhaps they were on the way to the hospital and someone was very ill. Or maybe they were rushing to get to work in order to avoid getting fired. Certainly it was something big!

Imagine my surprise when we pulled into the school parking lot and noticed the speed racer minivan parked in front of the Kindergarten drop off door. The driver hopped out and escorted a child to the door and chatted with the teacher...since the Kindergarten bell rings 5 minutes after the bell for the older kids she had plenty of time.

The two kids I had in tow witnessed it too. They were silent as they looked from me to the scene in front of us. Finally, my niece spoke up. "You aren't gonna say anything to that other mom are you?"

She actually looked nervous. Meanwhile my son said, "Oh yeah, she's gonna yell, cause that was really rude."

I realized that my blissful mom-behind-the-wheel vision of myself must not always come across to others if the two 8-year-olds who typically ride with me were reacting like this. Here I thought I'd been so zen-like in my behavior lately! I quickly assured them that while I would like to take that mom aside and encourage her to be more careful when driving her child...I wouldn't. We'd just have to let this one go.

I must admit, this response was not satisfying at all. But, in this situation I did find some solace by turning my annoyance over to a higher power. I simply swallowed my anger and said a little prayer for the driver. I prayed for red, flashing lights to come screeching up and ticket her. Or, for her to find all four tires on her van flat tomorrow morning. Or, that she'd run out of gas on a dirt road in the middle of the night...well, you get the picture. Inside I'm still mad as heck when others drive like jack wagons, but now that I'm a mom-behind-the-wheel, I am learning to channel my crankiness more effectively.

Bless you!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012