I do a lot of driving. Not because I particularly love it or because any one trip is all that important, but because I have so many point B’s in my life. Point A is our home, as it should be. I start here and branch off into a dozen mundane activities throughout the day. From picking up tampons at Target to taking my children to their numerous activities (Basketball, Gymnastics, Chess Club, Soccer, Volunteer work at the nature center, etc.), these short trips could be an annoyance or a hindrance to me getting things done. And yet, I don’t see them this way.
I don’t get mad about having to take another trip to the store to return things we bought online. I don’t throw up my hands in exasperation when there is yet another “pick up order” for something we couldn’t remember to grab the day prior. These trips are opportunities for conversation. In the best case scenario, I have a child or two in tow. And on these short trips, I will pick the lock that is seemingly always affixed to their minds and intentions. It is on the trip to Kaiser for medication that I will hear about how my oldest really feels about their friends. It is on the trip home from soccer practice that we will get to discuss what my middle child is most looking forward to in attending their chosen high school. It is during the trip to Dairy Queen that I find out why Chess is so fascinating to my youngest.
These car conversations with my children are also combined with the dozen conversations I have with myself whenever I make these voyages alone. It is on these trips that I will figure out what I want to do with my life or what I truly believe about current events. I challenge myself with others’ conversations in the form of Podcasting’s knack for creating para-social relationships, ensuring that my mind does not get stuck in thinking about the same mundane things that are the actual intent of the trip.
Because the destination is, after all, never the best part. Sure, I want to get my kids to their “sportsball” practice. I want to pick up the umpteenth grocery run or household item. I want to make family’s life that much easier because of a simple drive to and from, from A to B.
But, I am a better father because of the conversations that stir the air of our compact Mazda SUV.
Our car rides let me have the kitchen table conversations that would otherwise never occur, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
(Even if I do have to go out for the 7th time a single day, just so we have some milk for cereal the next day.)