The Family (Or most of them)

The Family (Or most of them)
The Family

August 4, 2007

Connections in my Car

I used to be bitter about it.
Now I'm better for it.

After I split with my ex, I missed my kids incredibly.

I felt shut out of their lives, except for every other weekend when they were at my place.

In between those times, it seemed, my main role in their lives was as little more than a glorified chauffeur.


I'd motor up their driveway to pick them up, take off, have a few minutes to try to catch up on their lives and then out the car door they'd go.

And I'd drive right out of their lives again.

I felt so removed from them, so out of touch with the intimate details of their relationships, their struggles or successes at school, their dreams of what or who they wanted to be.

I felt so peripheral, so incidental, so clueless, so helpless.


And I felt frustrated that so much of our short time together was inside the four doors of my 1996 Ford, ferrying them to friends' houses or music lessons.

Fast-forward to today. Not a lot has changed, except my own perceptions.


In fact, now that my kids are older and more mobile and social, I see them even less rather than more. I drive them around even more, not less.

But what I've found is that those precious few minutes in my car with them have become goldmine opportunities for discovery, not some desolate wasteland of non-relating.

With my son or daughter sitting right next to me in the front seat, I've got 'em! They're a foot away from me. They're MINE, ALL MINE!

There are no distractions. I can talk to them and find out what's really going on, how they feel, what's new.

What happened yesterday in their lives. What's happening today. How they did on that test. What they're struggling with. And I can tell them about me.

It might only last five or 10 minutes. But it's me and them, uninterrupted.


I still miss them and know how much of them and their lives I'm missing. But my car has become my connection to them, in some important ways.

My buddy, Homo Escapeons, has helped me to understand this over time...


...To make the most of the opportunities there are, rather than lament the missing out on the opportunities that no longer are.


I think he's the king of driving his kids everywhere and anywhere, at any time.

Now, I just wonder when my kids are going to start paying for the gas...

24 comments:

  1. judging by those fantastic pic you're a BIG BIG part of their lives - space and time are not as important as love, and you have it / give it in shedloads.
    Love the sunset picture too!
    xx

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  2. Very wise !! very difficult to achieve that point of view. You're a master !

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  3. I'm with Ziggi on this one. What more can I say? :)

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  4. Ziggi:

    Thanks, wonderful witch...

    The difficulty is not being as big a part as I want to be or could be, the always wondering what you DON'T know rather than what you DO...

    Hildegarde:

    I don't know about wise. It's taken me a long while to grasp it and accept. And a master? Hardly!

    Stace:

    Cheers, lovely one.

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  5. Sounds like to me that have grasp the concept that it is not so much the amount of time you have but what you do with that time that truly matters.

    I have to applaud you. I know many people where the fathers of their children find it more of a burden than a gift to spend time with their children, not to mention want more or express how much they miss them. You can not be doing that bad of a job because they are willing to share that time with you about themselves. Be proud that your children know you love and want them.

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  6. I always admire people when they're able to look at the positive side of a situation rather, than the negative. HE is totally right, of course, but sometimes it's so difficult for us mere humans to stop wanting more of what we don't have and just making the most of what we do. We always seem to want more, more, more. I guess greed, in one form or another, is just a part of our internal makeup. We're a selfish lot, aren't we?

    And from what I know of you and of your relationships with your children, you are a phenomenal father... possibly one of the best I've ever known.

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  7. Inside Our Hands:

    Thanks for dropping by (I assume from HE's blog). And for your kind comments.

    This was an evolution and, really, almost forced by circumstance and the need to get a positive out of a negative, for all three of us.

    :-)

    Anna:

    Thanks, you (I was going to call you girl, but uh, maybe not :-)

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  8. To accept with grace our place in their space...
    You come across as a fun dad.Lucky kids!

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  9. CHarge them by the kilometer, not to mention the hourly rate of hiring a driver...

    "...To make the most of the opportunities there are, rather than lament the missing out on the opportunities that no longer are.
    "
    COuldnt have said it better myself.

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  10. Dinahmow:

    You got that right!

    Anna:

    Cluck, cluck. Cock-a-doodle-dooo...

    Aidan:

    I've proposed that scenario to them many times. They just laugh or ignore me...

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  11. I can only give you reassurance that what you're doing is enough.

    My dad has driven me and my sisters to school when I was in high school. Then when I graduated and went to college, I'd ride with him to the place where he works, get off and take the bus to school. After school I'd ride the bus again to his office and we'd go home together. I loved those car rides with my dad. It was where we gradually got to know each other better. And when I graduated and started working, we'd go to work together and go home together.

    It came to the point where I was totally comfortable sharing my thoughts and what was happening with my life.

    I even drive like my dad now. LOL!

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  12. A man can be in the house full time with this kids and still not have the connection that your have with your children. I'm going to keep what you've written here in mind over the next few days -my ex-husband is coming to visit our son and I must make myself step back/away and let them have some time together -just the two of them -so that my ex-husband can experience that MINE, ALL MINE!! (as you put it :) )feeling and thoroughly enjoy the limited time that he has.

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  13. Anonymous1:09 a.m.

    I am sure your kids enjoy the taxi service. My parents split up and I used to occasionally make up reasons for my dad to drive me places (sometimes I still do), knowing that I could have a great chat. And it was always easier talking like that, then face-to-face with a cup-o'-tea.

    If they ever want to borrow the car charge them for the petrol and ware-and-tear on the seats.

    Cheers,
    Andrew

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  14. It is all about perception. And acceptance. Once that is achieved all is easy. Easy...

    I know it is easier said than done. I should know.....

    Anyway, I finally wrote that snake and mongoose poem. Do check that out whnever you have time. Not that it is anything great..

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  15. Lee:

    I hope it turns out well with the ex and your son, then, but if they don't see each other much, it might not come that easily.

    I really hope it does...for all of you.

    Thanks. :-)

    Andrew:

    Well, of course it's more than a taxi service, it just seems that way sometimes.

    That's the thing to overcome -- that that's ALL it is and that's ALL you are.

    I do force my daughter to pay for gas sometimes if she's using my car to drive a long way.

    Other than that, though, I try to keep it unconditional.

    Gautami:

    You're right about acceptance...but what do you mean, you should know?

    I'll get by today for the snake and mongoose poem. :-)

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  16. My revelation came about because I lost my Dad out of the blue and I tend to administer the practicality of existing as if this event horizon was my destiny.

    In the unlikely event that I do survive the next decade and limp into my 60s then my children will be forced to cart my sorry butt all over the place and it will all even out in the wash.

    Aside from the statistical probability of my expiration date I LOVE driving them around and have discovered that they are trapped in the van and seem reluctant to leap out and roll on their shoulder even at relatively moderate rates of speed.

    You grab every second that you can.
    One of my fave David Bowie lyrics:
    "I'm in your way,
    and I'll steal every moment."

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  17. Homily Escarpment:

    You moron...you're going to outlive us all.

    But so you have an ulterior motive -- that they'll have to pay you back by carting your fire hydrant like body all over to the casinos and bars!

    I know the loss of your dad is a motivating factor. It's less about why, it's more about the doing.

    And you do it. And that's all they care about. I love that Bowie lyric...thanks for being a great example.

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  18. You are one exceptional man...and father. I wish that Jack was more like you...the kids would benefit a great deal from it.

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  19. I think that's why my brother and his wife drive their kids all over the city ... it's the only real time they have them trapped for a conversation. And they're all close and good friends.

    Your kids are lucky!

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  20. Sweet photos! It's really cool when we can shift our perceptions -- it has a way of empowering us and bringing us back to the present moment. I love the image I get of you and your kids in your car -- there's an intimacy in the car because of the close quarters. Some of my best ever conversations in life have been in a car, and I include both my parents in this. I bet your kids will remember and cherish these times with you, too. I bet it means much more to them than you know. And I love what you said about making the most of the opportunities there are instead of lamenting what we're missing -- very wise words. Thank you!
    :)

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  21. lols @first pic! WW u r a funny wunny guy!

    I think u r a MASSIVE part in ur kids' lives...I cud just tell. And u r a great dad WW!

    Keshi.

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  22. Sorry WW, I tagged you for a Meme. Check my blog.

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  23. Awaiting:

    (*Turns beet red and runs away*)

    Kids do need good dads. I figure they need good moms more, but they need good dads.

    All anyone can do is try.

    Bibi:

    Yep, that was the point of the post...my kids can't escape me in my car!

    Clare:

    You got it, girl. :-)...a shift in perception.

    As for those photos, well, a lot has changed since then (2004 I think that was, a windswept, warm day).

    But the more things change, the more they stay the same, at least in some ways...

    Keshi:

    Funny wunny? And you're a wascally wabbit.

    :-)

    Stace:

    OK, girl, but I'll have to try to find eight things I haven't said before...and I dunno if I can!

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