If you have kids, you have probably taken your eyes off the road from time to time.
When my kids were little I took my eyes off the road all the time. I hated when seasoned moms reminded me to keep my eyes on the road. Oh, they didn’t say it quite like that. Rather, it was in the form of ”enjoy this time, it will pass so quickly!” “Are you kidding me?” I thought. Back then, I couldn’t make time go fast enough. The road dragged on. Play-dough and play dates were the entire agenda, at least besides feeding, toileting, and sleeping. I woke up wondering how I was going to fill the day as well as keep my sanity (what little I had left). It felt like driving through Kansas. No matter how far you drive you don’t feel like you are getting anywhere.
By the time my eldest son went to high school life had kicked into high gear. It was nearly impossible to keep my eyes on the road. Activities had overtaken our previously blank calendar, and I hit the floor every morning wondering how I was going to cram everything into the allotted 24 hours without a pit stop. I wasn’t sure if I was coming or going, like a NASCAR driver in last place, unsure if I was at the head of the pack or being lapped by everyone else.
I needed something then and I still need it now: something to slow me down. A pace car. An emotional pace car. My pace car comes in the form of gratitude and perspective. (Ok, I need two pace cars. I have a lead foot and tend to “go around”). Gratitude and perspective slow me down enough to ”recalculate” and tank up so I can keep my way straight and steady for the long haul.
In parenthood, there really is no checkered flag (engine failure not withstanding) just a starting wave and a few caution flags along the way. I’ve seen a lots of cars go off the road, a collision or two, and quite a few skid marks along the way (after all, I have three boys…). So the road can seem endless and meandering, and frustrating.
However, when I allow my pace cars to guide me, the ride takes on new meaning, not to mention a cargo load of joy. Instead of hurrying to the finish, I think about where I have gone, and where I am going. I delight in the passengers I have along with me, and how wonderful it is to be on the journey with them. My eyes and my heart are fully on the road, wherever it may lead. When I lose my way, and rush for the sake of crossing a finish line, my pace cars remind me that the journey IS the finish line, and if I don’t slow down, I just might miss it.
What helps YOU keep your eyes on the road?