Having a baby is akin to entering the on-ramp for a 6-lane interstate. There is no easing into the flow. You have to just look both ways, rely on your instincts and gun it.
Parenthood is terrifying like that.
You know what's even more terrifying? The fact that before children, I really never thought about practically living in my car with my three kids, an assortment of pets with other people’s kids thrown in.
But that is my reality.
I think back to time spent cruising in my small, sporty Acura listening to any radio station I wanted, Moreover, listening to an entire song without interruption.
If I had known it was going to be so short-lived, I would have sung much louder.
Now my car—a truck really- can hold a small city and is my second home. We eat meals there, do homework and get dressed between events. If it was tricked out with a toilet, my kids would never leave.
I have no control over the radio or, oftentimes, our destination. We are on a mission to make a practice, concert or game. I remember driving around just to feel the sun and breeze streaming through the sunroof. Now the sunroof is an escape hatch, a credible threat any time we slide it open.
In my childless days, the car meant freedom on the open road. Now, it is a symbol of just how obligated we are. Not in a negative way, just in the way families tend to be in today’s world.
In many ways, however, my relationship with my car hasn’t changed a bit. It is still my trusty side kick, even if my cargo is very boisterous and unforgiving in all matters of upholstery and shiny finishes.
Formerly, I was apt to ponder life’s big questions as the miles rolled by. Today, I am still searching for answers to questions big and small as my children lob inquiries at the back of my head.
See, I am still in the driver’s seat but there's no denying that parenthood changes how you look at things in life’s rear view mirror.