“as we have opportunity”
We’re starting a new season in my family. Completely different than any that have come before.
Thing #1: My daughter has started college. It’s a local community college, so we still have the pleasure of her company at the dinner table every night, but she’s gone for a few hours a few days a week. Thank God for online classes, otherwise she’d be gone even more. This change in our lives necessitates one of two things: either she takes the car and I’m left without one, or I drop her off at school. This semester, our solution appears to be that I drop her off in the morning, and her best friend brings her home. It works perfectly, because she and her bestie have class together and are leaving campus at the same time.
Thing #2: My son has started playing ice hockey with a new team. If the past two weeks are an indicator, this will require him to be at practice twice a week, at a rink 25 miles from home. The traffic is not congested the whole way, but there are stretches of stop-and-go. It takes us about 45 minutes.
Thing #3: I have a part-time job now, outside the house. This requires me to be in the car alone for a stretch, which, as a stay-at-home mom, has rarely been the case. Combined with Bible study (which I’m attending without a child in tow, which is also fairly new), I’ll be spending about an hour to an hour and a half a week alone in the car.
The new opportunities? Time. Time alone with my daughter, and time alone with my son.
I’ve always loved drive-time with my kids, because it’s so easy to talk. First of all we’re trapped. Neither of us is leaving the area for several minutes, so we have a chance to get into things, like we might not at home, where we could be interrupted by the phone, or a sibling, or the timer on the oven, or a barking dog.
The other advantage is that because I’m driving, my eyes are forward. And generally, so are theirs. I have found that kids are sometimes more comfortable talking when they don’t have to make eye contact. There’s somehow less pressure on them, especially if the subject matter is sensitive or uncomfortable.
The other thing there’s time for? Alone time with God. First of all, there are fewer distractions (see: phone, oven timer and barking dog). When I’m alone in the car, it’s quiet. Even if I’ve got music going, I’m thinking, and I’m praying. Or my music is worship music, and I’m just praisin’. Or I’m able to listen to a sermon on my ipod. Or I turn the noise off entirely and just listen.
This season has its disadvantages (small though they be). Driving in traffic is not fun (especially when it’s in the 90s outside). I miss my daughter when she’s at school. And I’d rather be at home with my kids, and getting things done, than working. But I’m not so blinded by the negatives that I miss the opportunities I’m being given. Which makes me grateful for two things: the opportunities themselves, and the fact that He has made sure I’m noticing them.