It’s not new news that I hate being in the car.
Especially being in it for any length of time.
And yet….here we go…a riding. A long ways away.
I’ve been praying for days.
I hate it that it takes such small things like long car rides for me to see that I still have so much stuff stuck to me in need of sloughing.
In order to get through this ride, I had to lie in bed one night and figure out what it is exactly that makes me such a brat inside a vehicle.
What is it?
I made a mental list.
Issue Number One: Aaron’s driving.
Reading through the entire Bible and the fact that Aaron is not in a wreck every time I’m not in the car with him are equal reasons why I know, beyond a doubt, that God does in fact exist.
Aaron treats red lights with an “as needed” mentality.
If no one is coming, but the light is red, why stop?
He goes right on red.
And left on red. But not on purpose. He's not a rebel. He's just singing. Really.
And he drives so close to other people I can practically tell what time it is…on their clock…in their car.
Music and beverages are the most important elements of any trip that includes Aaron.
Any time we get in a car, whether it’s to drive for a decade or drive around the block, Aaron must have a drink, and he must put in new CD’s. Really.
And, my sweet Aaron…he’s not much into planning ahead.
We will leave to go on a long trip.
We will immediately stop AT A GAS STATION and get him a drink.
See. I told you. Beverage. Priority.
Then, about 45 minutes later, after the kids have finally fallen asleep, the car is quiet, the muscle spasm in my shoulders I have acquired from looking back over my seat and handing toys, pacifiers, blankets, pens, paper and Darth Maul to little boys has subsided…that’s when Aaron says, “Man, we’re almost out of gas.”
Then we stop and get gas at a gas station that resides only 30 or so miles from the other gas station where we got his coke. All the kids wake up and are demonic or eeyoric the remainder of the trip.
This makes me stare at Aaron with my angry eyes and throw Attacktics at my kids instead of handing them over nicely.
And, Aaron hates anything that jingles in the car.
He hates anything that taps or rubs against something else.
One time he made me crawl over three sleeping children, risk waking them so that I could silence the little metal zip (made up name for the hand piece on the zipper) that was tapping up against the actual zipper in the very back of our vehicle.
How come I have to firmly tap him to make him notice that Hayden is in the backseat imitating a scratched record saying, “Daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, you know what daddy, guess what daddy, daddy, daddy” but a tapping zipper cuts right to his central nervous system?
Another strange phenomenon about my husband is that he feels he must go AT LEAST the speed limit no matter what.
No weather condition can alter his driving speed.
If the sign says 70, we must go 70…even if we are driving through a hurricane...or through someone else's car.
I am convinced that Aaron gets a slight case of road rage in traffic, not because we are having to patiently wait…patiently waiting is one of Aaron’s gifts in most situations. I think he’s perturbed that somehow, backed up traffic is breaking the rules. Have any of you ever seen Aaron perturbed? Probably not. It's almost precious. It's so not like him, it causes me to laugh at him. Aaron being upset about anything is such a rare event, it should be announced on the news, and we should all have to view his irritation through a specially-made box. Isn't he wonderful?
But, in the car, something in him snaps and goes berserk (berserk for Aaron means he starts breathing a little louder). If we are stopped on a road in front of a sign that clearly says “Speed Limit 55 miles per hour” he cannot take it. We can't be stopped. The sign says for us to go 55. We must mind. He's like Monk.
My rule following husband.
To Aaron, rules were made to be followed…at all costs…even at the cost of death, or becoming incarcerated.
So, how do I solve a problem like my husband?
I try to remember to be thankful. It's hard, but I'm asking God to help me try.
I have a super husband...being in the car doesn't really change that.
So, instead of being annoyed at Aaron, I need to be thankful for him.
When he changes the CD for the 553 time, instead of jumping out of the car, I can say, “Thank you God that Aaron doesn’t have cancer or a hairy back.”
When he tries to give the car in front of us an Expedition Enema, instead of irritably saying, “PANTS AARON” and then exhaling loudly, I can say, “Thank you God that our lives are in your hands. You haven’t ever let Aaron kill us yet, which I know takes divine intervention...overtime on your part, God so thank you…thank you that our car trips are proof that miracles do still happen every time Aaron gets behind the wheel of a car.”
Issue Number Two: My kids
Normally, I love my kids.
I love being with them.
I love talking to them.
I love listening to them.
I love watching them play with each other.
None of that applies for some reason once we get in the car.
Once we’re in the car, I find myself looking back at the rows of children and car seats and thinking, “HOLY COW...where did all these kids come from?”
It’s terrifying. There's so many of them.
So why does "holy cow" only hit me in the car?
Those same bunches of mouths, arms and legs walk around my house every single day and they don't make me want to hyperventilate. They make me tired, but they don't make me certifiably insane.
So what’s my deal?
After a few nights of dreading the car...I know what it is...and I hate it.
Serving them becomes too much.
Car seated up, seat belted in, they can do NOTHING for themselves.
In the car, even my big kids become like newborns. 4 Newborns in a car for hours...AHHHHH!
Being a mom is a wonderfully, tireless job.
I serve my children all day long.
God has taught me so much by being a mother.
No longer do I dictate my day. They do.
No longer do I have “me time.” My time is their time. I’m on call 24/7.
And just when I think God has emptied me of me so much…taught me how to give of myself sacrificially to love them and care for them…
He puts me in the car for hours.
He shows me how far I have to go…further than our physical destination, for sure.
They drop a cup. They can't get it. I need to get it for them.
They need a snack. They can't get one. I unbuckle, turn around and dispense.
They cry. They can't come to me. I crawl over the seat to get to them.
They need to go to the bathroom, they can't go on their own. We pull over, get out and stand there with them (a brilliant perk to being the mother of boys is that anywhere there is ground…there’s an empty bladder.)
They need a blankie. It is out of reach for them. I bend over and find it.
They need a new movie. They are helpless. I move the TV, find a tape, rewind, fast-forward, push start.
If they are hungry, tired, cold, hot, uncomfortable, lonely, hurt, full of liquid, messy or wet they can not remedy the situation on their own.
They need me.
They need my help.
They need me to serve them.
And, with Aaron’s driving skills in mind, every single time, before I unbuckle and bolt across the seat, I feel the need to say to him, “Honey, please don’t kill me.”
Aaron always says, “I haven’t yet.” Yet? He thinks that comforts me.
And so I get tired. I get cranky.
I throw a silent, spastic fit in the front seat, at some point of every trip.
I have a short seizure of irritation.
And Aaron just looks at me with his head turned to one side and then shakes his head.
That poor man.
He’s married to a wife with a Philippians 2 deficiency.
Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.
Lord, help me care more about their needs than I do about mine…even though when a mere car seat is involved, their needs automatically quadruple.
Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges
If He can serve me to the cross, surely I can serve my family in the car.