The drive was too long and the air conditioner was forced to be blasting too loudly because of the sun's hot angle. I could hardly hear a word the girls were saying from the back seat. Something about somebody being less than sisterly, most likely. Something about arguing. Something about irritation.
And then, I could hear: yelling and bickering and crying about little nothings. I couldn't squeeze a word in between the simultaneously flung outrage.
The only solution my feeble mind could find was to join in the fray.
GIRLS!! If you don't stop this RIGHT NOW, I promise I will PULL THIS CAR OVER!! We will just...STOP DRIVING!!
Mia screwed up her brows and nose and mouth into a concentrated thought. What will that mean?
It will mean you're in TROUBLE! THAT'S what.
So there it is. I have no control while driving. There is nothing I can do to keep the peace when everything bursts at the seams. And that's not all: I am clueless about much of motherhood. I make it up as I go, and I step backwards into failure on a daily basis. There is trial and error and more error.
And I wonder when the trial will result in success?
And I wonder what success is?
But there are things I do know how to do as a parent to these kids.
I know that I need to give Mia time to wake up in the morning before rushing her into the day. I know that her favorite shoes are not negotiable, but her favorite color is. I understand why she suppresses a grin when classmates are watching, and I know what will happen if she isn't granted time to blow every single tuft of seed from a dandelion's head. I know that she needs a hug when she's mad. I can correctly identify THE cold-blankie that is her lifeline, when compared with two other identical blankies. I hear the waver of an embarrassed voice. I can feel ripples bouncing away from her proud moments and implosions from her shamed moments.
I know that Lauren will declare herself un-shy before a big day, and then proceed to hide behind my leg. I know that she'll answer 'grapes' to the favorite fruit question, but then refuse grapes. Because strawberries are the real answer. I can tell when she's about to meltdown and I know that her biggest meltdowns happen when she thinks somebody is about to blame her for something she didn't do. I know that she needs to be listened to, no matter how long the sentence -- or single word -- takes to travel from her brain to her mouth. I can hear what she means when she says I had fish sticks for breakfast. (She means french toast sticks.)
I see where these sisters are mirror-images of each other. I see how strikingly opposite they are, as well. I embrace them for all they are. I respect them as valuable people and love them as precious souls deserve to be loved.
I do those things. I know those things.
And sometimes, like when I have to pull this car right over, because I can't see my way through the crazy way our lives are unfolding, it's good to know. It's good to have reminders of all the things I DO know about these particular, gorgeous, wildly sensitive, immeasurably fascinating daughters.
That way, when I do pull the car over, I can giggle at their startled faces in the rear view mirror instead of wondering where I've gone wrong. I can give myself some slack instead of seeing this as my backwards step for the day.
I can own my lack of knowledge because it's offset by a wealth of hope and love and trust.
And we can be on the road again in no time. Figuring each other out as we drive.