So I am driving to my parents’ house this afternoon. My three kids, ages ten down to four, are making one big raucous in the backseat.
There’s crying. There’s irritation. We are basically a zoo on four wheels (and it’s smelling only marginally better in here, too). There’s a four-year-old screaming at the top of her lungs, “They won’t play with me!”
And more crying.
I take a quick glance at the rear view mirror. I see little arms and legs flailing up in the air — stuffed animals sailing through the backseat of the SUV.
“Mom!!” I hear three voices shouting at the same time, staggered just enough to give it that stereo effect — a dissonant choir, if you will.
I am weary.
But it’s funny how as a mom, you just quietly forge through, no matter how horrendous you feel.
“MOM!!!” the highly annoyed, distressed voices continue. Just the word “mom” feels like a dagger through my nervous system at this point.
I want to form some words, but the words won’t come out — I’m literally too tired. So I focus my eyes straight ahead on the road. I turn up the radio a couple of notches. Finally, after a few minutes, I manage to wearily say, “Umm, what’s going on guys?”
Whoosh, the floodgates OPEN.
“He bumped into me!!”
“He called me chubby!!!!”
“THEY WON’T PLAY WITH ME!!??!”
And I take a deep breath, but it’s not satisfying. I try to go to a ” happy place,” like imagining I’m in a spa somewhere or on the beach … but it’s no use.
I glance again at the rearview mirror … okay good, everyone is safe … no blood, no broken bones, no too terrible name calling. The seatbelts are still fastened across them. There’s just a whole lot of chaos back there.
I realize a good mom would play referee and intervene with words of peace or at least a stern warning. I’ve done this most of the time.
But I don’t have the energy to stomp out every fire.
However, that terrible guilt sets in … I think of all those wise parenting experts, “You have to address each and every heart issue right at that moment OR ELSE your kids will grow up to be ungrateful, wayward slobs, totally useless to society.” (Okay, these aren’t their EXACT words … but it’s something to that effect.)
And then I remember the words of the wellness experts, “Stress will kill you.”
And then I think about how my body is protesting.
So what do I do in this situation? Sure, I can pour out every ounce of energy to address this chaos. I can stress that stress is killing me. I can feel guilty.
Or I can just let it go.
I LET IT GO. I heed the words of that popular Frozen song that my daughter sang for three months straight, seemingly 24/7. I let it go, folks. Hands to the wheel, I keep driving. I look out into the street ahead, my mind full of … nothing much.
And after a long fifteen minutes of yelling and distraught — the tears dry and the raucous dissipates, just like that, like MAGIC with absolutely no intervention on my part.
How about that?
Yes. Some wildfires just need to blow over.
When in doubt, it’s just better not to stress and drive.