Thursday, September 15, 2011

Bigger Picture Moment: I Pulled This Car Right Over

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.

We're seeing the Bigger Picture through simple moments -- moments that force us to stop and take notice of the ways our worlds are important, meaningful, and beautiful. Please join us today at Alita's place! Grab the button, link up, and then read a few others to encourage them as they walk this journey of intentional living.


  1. oh how this post grabbed my heart. The 2 paragraphs where you can list so many detailed things about each kid, oh those are the successes I consider parenthood. Those are the ones I linger over, especially when I feel like I'm failing over other ones.

    Great BPM!

  2. Sometimes we have to pull the car over to find ourselves in spite of all the chaos around us. Parenting is such a humbling challenge. Knowing and seeing your kids is a huge success.

  3. I love how you drive us right into a new meaning of that kind of moment when we pull this I need to retrain myself to think that way. Beautiful, Sarah.

  4. simply lovely. i felt every word.

  5. I feel like I always leave the same comments...but your blogs are always so beautiful and right on! Love it!

  6. There is trial and error and more error.

    And I wonder when the trial will result in success?

    My guess on this probably already does more than you know because you are too close in.
    Wonderful post. Takes me back to many, many drives with my own kids.

  7. Oh, I love this glimpse into each little one's personality. And, without a doubt, we all have those pull-the-car-over moments. =>

  8. In truth, sometimes I wonder how different it is raising boys and girls. Because when I get to that "I'm so pulling this car over" I don't usually laugh to myself. I usually have a long conversation with the boys, and a punishment at home (no certain snack or tv, etc) is worked into the pulling over moment. It takes a lot for me to get there. But, boy oh boy- boys can be (um!) trying sometimes. lol...

    Now, the feeling I get from this post is that you have so much to give, so much to offer, and they have so much love to give back to you that it is hard to get to a disciplining moment. Which isn't failure at all. You are an awesome mom Sarah! I always love reading your loving posts about your dear daughters.


  9. The first time I pulled the car over, my girls were shocked into silence! I was so amazed that it worked that I might have overused the pulling over threat. Fortunately, I haven't had to do it recently!


Hmm...And how did that make you FEEL?