When we first started carpooling, it was definitely a change. We were both used to driving alone, left with our own time and thoughts. We were both used to coming and going on our own schedules and not worrying about what anyone else has going on or if they had to work late. Certainly there are some days when we don't ride together. Sometimes Roger goes in very early, and sometimes I have to work quite late, so it takes a little bit of communication each day or week to sync our schedules. After some time, I think we have both gotten used to the carpooling routine. In fact, when a day comes up that we unexpectedly have to drive separately, we're both a little disappointed.
Since Roger doesn't teach over the summer, I usually have to drive to work alone. Since I work in a downtown area, I have to pay for parking (a thorn in my side for the past 17 years that I still need to get over - but I digress). In my infinite wisdom, I suggested to my son, Christian, this grand idea for carpooling this summer. His work takes him about 15 minutes up the road from my office, but it would save him a ton of gas money and save me on parking money. Win-win! It takes a little bit of compromise for both of us. I have to adjust my hours so that he isn't at work super early, and he has to ride with mom. In addition, we have had to learn to compromise on the radio. I get to choose in the morning, and he gets to choose at night. Sometimes, we choose together.
I don't mind the adjustment for a few months, but I am not sure how much Christian enjoys driving with me. After the first day of carpooling, I think Christian said something like: "I don't like riding together." (in his best whinny voice). Hmph, I guess this blows my fairy tale vision of quality mother and son time when I get to hear all about Christian's dreams and desires in life. It probably hasn't been a bed of roses for me either, but as any good mom does, I will make the sacrifice of 'fun' to help my son save money and get a little further ahead, as I would with any of my kids. I also decided that I can use this time positively to hopefully help Christian develop his interpersonal communication skills,
( i.e. Hello, How are you?).
When Roger and I carpool, the first 10 minutes are greetings which open the door for further sharing of thoughts and the day, and well....life. With Christian, this is a task he is developing, but one that is important as he gets older, and deals with more people in his life. It is an important skill for all young adults coming into the world, and sometimes a difficult one to learn. It is one that I had to learn, and often still work on. It's not that I don't care about others, but sometimes, I just forget to ask. Our son, Adam, is a pro at this, asking about my day, or how we are, if we haven't seen him lately. Our daughter, Alex, does pretty good too. She's not quite the conversationalist Adam is, but she'll at least ask....most times. Christian is more like me. I'm sure he cares....yes, I'm sure he cares. He just forgets to ask.
I think that is part of our job as parents. I know once the kids are off at college and out of the house, we have grown weary of this thing called parenting, but this is no excuse to just let things go. We have been assigned the task to raise up our children and teach them in the way they should go, and so we must. This doesn't mean a constant nagging or lecture towards them, but the subtle interjections of the ways of the world. Thank goodness we are carpoolers! Maybe one day Christian will thank me - or at least maybe his wife will.