Watch Your Speed!
09/01/2017 06:26PM ● Published by Manda Koolis
Here we go again! I am smack dab in the middle of a life lesson and you get to read all about it. But that makes it all the more fun right? Well there’s no getting around it. Living is learning something daily and growing hopefully better and wiser. But whether we grow from our own experiences or others, life happens. And it happens way too fast for us to keep up. Which is my whole point. It just seems like these days there are moments that are few and far between to just take a slow Sunday drive. Are you old enough to remember those? It seemed like after church that was all to do as a family since everything used to be closed on that day. Businesses weren’t open. Retail stores were closed, in my small town anyway. Life slowed down on Sundays. Not any longer! I feel like I am always in high gear whether it’s Sunday or any other day of the week, Monday, Tuesday, Friday…doesn’t matter. And wherever I am going, rest assured and watch yourself because I am coming in on two wheels! Literally!
But despite the Nascar life I seem to live on a daily basis, my husband and I recently and very reluctantly waved the green flag to yet another driver in our family. So now we are four with wheels! Two adults and two teenagers …and a ten year old that will never have to worry about having a ride again. And we, as license holders, get all the fun that comes with having so many vehicles in a narrow driveway… it’s like playing checkers every morning but with cars! Conversations have even shifted gears to something like this. “Mom, we should have a spot in the kitchen where all of our keys need to hang so we don’t have to dig around for them to move a car…or better yet, we all need to just get extra keys so we can each have everyone’s car key on our ring.” What happened to “Mom, the new movie I was waiting for is out. Can you take me to see it this weekend?” It seems that my mommy mobile days of “hurry sit and wait” to get them to a practice or party are over for the most part and in the moment I am certain I longed for those days to end but sadly…I’d give anything to have them back! It’s so strange to be heading down the road and wave across the highway as you pass one of your children going the opposite way. You smile. You wave. You get sad. And then your heart stops for a split moment and you just pray they get home safely… even though you knew they were already out, seeing them just stirs that emotion. Moms know what I mean. Now, not only are they both driving but also both have just started their first jobs. Four cars. Four schedules. Four different directions. Yikes! They are earning their own money and somewhat their freedom…freedom from needing me. Ouch! Home is becoming a pit stop and I just want to jump in and drive a time machine instead of my crossover! But even with less carpooling since they can drive, things still seem very fast paced! I guess we get so used to busyness that as things fall off of our schedules we add more on top perpetuating this crazy pace.
So as I drive feeling a bit out of control down this road never traveled, I am determined to enjoy the high-speed ride with my children in those moments I can get everyone to stop. But it’s not going to be without challenges and the stops from each car may not be all at the same time but I am still determined. I can remember my dad used to say that he had to change my oil hanging on from the back of the bumper. That makes me laugh now. I didn’t think it was funny then but now I understand. I was always on the go. This was also a generation when people used to change their own oil! Talk about a step back in time. But here are my thoughts on what I am trying to put in place or even continue doing and maybe some will work for you as well.
1. Red Flag – This Nascar flag means all racing halts!
This is going to be ONE night a week, probably Sunday for us since everyone is home. No work. No friends over. Just us, sitting at the table eating together, hopefully a home cooked meal but if it has to be takeout, that’s fine. The point is we are sitting together. I said ONE night because for us long gone are the days where we sit down together every night and have dinner as a family. It’s grab and go between activities especially during the fall. But setting aside at least one night a week like Sunday is doable. It will be tough at first and conversation short but it WILL develop. If you can manage more than one night, great! I just want to set a realistic goal that hopefully sets a tradition for the future also. A friend of mine does this with her family and I love it! The kids know it’s non-negotiable!
2. Black Flag – This is the consultation flag. Driver must respond to concerns.
I want to seize moments to just talk to my boys one on one. Maybe it’s just going into their room and jumping on the bed to just have dialogue for 10-15 minutes. It may lead to something good or it could be a whole conversation about nothing. But it’s just about connecting with them individually where they have your full attention if they need it.
3. Blue flag - This indicates the course is partially blocked or cars are stopped on the track.
I love having my sons’ friends over. They used to get dropped off and now I am starting to see the trickle of them driving their own cars over and hanging out. Some of them even call me mom. I never want that to stop. I want them to feel welcome to come over and hang whether it’s a planned party or just a spontaneous drop by! I just try to keep the pantry stocked!
4. White Flag- indicates the lead driver is headed for the final lap.
Last time I looked we, as parents are still in the lead, right? So “forced family fun” as another friend of mine puts it requires all family members to be present to do something fun whether they think it is or not! It could be game night, seeing a movie, a vacation, bike riding, the beach…whatever! Just being together is what it’s about…and I bet they end up having fun whether they admit it or not! Maybe tack a game hour on the tail end of your family dinner night or plan bowling or a movie once a month. Maybe take a family poll on ideas.
5. Black and white Checkered flag- Indicates the winning car! I want my boys to know they are winners and can accomplish anything they set their minds and hearts to. I want them to know how proud of them I am and how much they are loved and appreciated and that they have an amazing plan and purpose for being on this earth. I want them to follow their dreams and pursue it with relentless passion! I hug a lot and I will never let them outgrow my kisses! Our kids are growing up in a generation that takes human life for granted. They need to be told and shown how much they are needed and loved!
I know that these ideas may seem like obvious things to some and you may already have all of this in place but for others like me, this is just a reminder of the important things to slow down for, our children. It’s a reminder of what I am already doing, what I could do better and what I need to start doing. These 5 flags also serve as a good visual to me as well as a reminder that as a parent, it’s not always about winning the race, it’s about finishing it and doing our very best…and teaching our children to do the same!