By TMoM Team Member Ellen Bryant Lloyd
It was a milestone… 100,000 miles. I remember watching the sixth spot of my car’s odometer flip from 0 to 1 at the same time the other five digits flipped from 9 to 0. It was hard to comprehend I had driven 100,000 miles since I drove my new car off the lot. I could have easily said I bought my car a year earlier, but it had actually been five years. Time had gone by faster than I realized, and the odometer proved it.
It struck me how my concept of time with car ownership ran parallel to being a parent. Over the years, I often heard myself say I couldn’t believe my children were already this age or that age. I remember my mom telling me that children grow up way too fast, so don’t wish any of it away. Honestly, I never wished a second of those years away, but they still grew up way too fast.
I easily recall the day we brought our son home from the hospital. Plus, I remember sitting his sweet self, all cozy in his car seat, on the chair in our family room. I was beyond excited to be a mom and eagerly anticipated all the gifts this new season of life would bring. In that moment, the idea that my son would one day be “grown” felt so far away… much more than 100,000 miles away. I felt the same when we brought our daughter home three years later.
My children were 8 and 11 when we bought the car. It is mind boggling to think of all the many places my family went and the experiences we had while traveling the first 100,000 miles in that car. I remember countless trips to and from school, basketball games, baseball games, practices, ballet classes, cello and piano lessons, church, UNC sporting events, family and friends’ homes, performances, recitals, doctors’ appointments, the grocery store, drug store, and school programs. I have happy memories of fun vacations and weekend trips. Plus, I remember last minute trips to purchase poster boards or other necessary items for school projects or school trips. I remember all these trips and many more.
Each one of the 100,000 miles traveled represents a small piece of history for my family. As I reflect on that period, I am reminded of the saying, it is the journey that matters, not the destination. My car arrived at many destinations during those years, but the special memories were made along the way were our journey.
The miles “ticked away” and my children grew up faster than I imagined. They are now 24 and 21, so I have clearly traveled many, many miles as a parent since they were born. However, in my heart and sentimental “mom” mind, it feels like they were little just yesterday.
We still have the car, but my daughter became its primary driver a few years ago. The odometer will soon flip over to 200,000, which means many more memories have been made since hitting the 100,000 milestone years ago. I am so grateful for each one of those memories… and miles. My hope is that you fully embrace every mile you travel with your children, literally and figuratively, and create special memories along the way for your journey.
Ellen Bryant Lloyd is a writer and mom of two children, one who has flown from the nest and the other is not far from it. She blogs about perspectives on life and parenting at mindfulmom.wordpress.com and tweets at @EllenBLloyd. She is the author of FRECKLES and FRECKLES and The Great Beach Rescue, a freelance writer and memoir ghostwriter. Ellen lives in Greensboro with her husband, her daughter, when she is home from college, and the sweetest dog ever. She looks forward to seeing her son, who is now living and working in a nearby metropolitan city, as often as possible.