Often times we get caught up in the craziness of life and fail to take time to slow down and be present. We don’t slow down for the moments that we’re in and the moments pass without notice. Fast forward 5 or 10 years later, we look back and realize those moments that we took for granted are now the good old days that everyone talks about. The gold old days that we desperately want back.
Everyday I pick up my kids from school and we drive home. It’s not a short drive and traffic isn’t exactly ideal. Any parent knows that 5 and 3 year olds that spend more than 5 minutes in a car seat can become unpleasant very quickly.
In years past I used the drive home as a time to wind down from the day and regain some energy. That is not the case these days. My kids ride with me of course and they can get cranky, scream, cry, shout, fight, argue and be extremely loud the entire car ride home. It can drive a person insane.
That doesn’t always happen though. When it does, it seems to last forever and seems like everyday, but it’s not. There are so many more days where all my kids want to do is talk my ear off, play with each other in the back, laugh at their jokes, laugh at my dad jokes, sing, and play “guess” games.
I’ll admit, sometimes I would get frustrated because I just wanted a quiet ride home. Then I realized what I was missing. There were some days that my wife picked the kids up from school and I rode home alone. Alone and in a quiet car. Then and there it hit me that I wanted nothing more than to have the kids in the back, kicking and screaming, playing and laughing, and just be there. I wanted those moments with them. Those fun and happy moments. Those loud and frustrating moments. I wanted it all because before you know it, they’ll be driving their own car and will no longer spend time in your car kicking, screaming, laughing, talking your ear off and being in those moments with you. As soon as we get home, the kids are off to play and do their thing.
The point to all of this is that you have to enjoy the ride. Good, bad, fun, frustrating, boring and memorable. You have to enjoy it all. Don’t simply look to the destination. Because that’s what life is. It’s a car ride home with the people you love. You have to take the good with the bad but the important part is that you’re together sharing all those collective moments. Because before you know it, you’ve arrived to you destination and everyone is off to do their thing.
—Cruz R. Villanueva