Before the Car Ride

Before The Car RideMany of us will be hopping in the car and traveling somewhere over the next few days. While our destinations vary, many of us have similar plans. We’ll be spending time with family and friends, giving and opening presents, reminiscing about the past year, and sharing plans for the upcoming year.

Doubts and fears. Dreams and wishes. It’s a time for sharing.

And we parents will try to enjoy ourselves while we hope our children will look back on this time fondly. The memory should go beyond the Facebook update and be something our children can look back upon some day and smile.

Laughter, enjoyment, appreciation. I hope your holiday season is full of each. Make good memories.

But those memories may occur before you reach your destination, along the route, or even in the driveway while sitting in your car. Sometimes, magical things happen before the car ride…

“One, two, three,…”

It’s circa 1974.

I’m 4 years old and in the front seat of the car. There are no car seats. Might not even be a seatbelt.

My father is at work. My older brothers are at school.

It’s just my mother and me. She has errands to handle, and I will be joining her. And we are in our latest used car. The car is a Ford – maybe a Falcon – from the late 1960’s.

As we wait for the car to warm up, there are no Kindles, iphones, or ipads. It’s just my mother and me and a frigid day. So, we wait.

My mother instructs me on how to pass the time.

“One, two, three,…”

I learned to count in the front seat of that 1960’s Ford on those winter days. My mother instructed me to count to 100 and promised that the car would be ready to go when I finally reached 100. When she ultimately shifted into drive, we prayed the car wouldn’t stall, so we could get the day’s errands done.

After a while, when I could easily count to 100, we played other number games. Count by 2’s, count down from 100, etc.

The story above is one of my earliest memories. I remember it vividly (I spared you the details.) Yet the memory ends before the car ride. By the time, we left the driveway, the moment had passed.

As Mrs. MMK and I drive to our Channukah party this weekend, we have no idea, what if anything, will impact our children. They’ll be on headphones and kindles for most of the ride – all of it, if they have their druthers. But we’ll insist they get off the electronics for a break. After all, we need some moments.

And those memorable moments could happen before we reach our destination, before we even leave the driveway.

“One, two, three,…”

Pic is courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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