Just in case you hadn’t heard the term before (clearly you are not an NPR-listener if you haven’t), “driveway moments” is a phrase used to describe what happens when you are en route to a particular place with the radio on and become fully engrossed in a story or interview that is happening on NPR. So fully engrossed that, despite reaching your destination, you are loathe to leave the car and miss the end of the story/interview/program. In our family, we have our own version of this, compliments of the move to the city.
Last year and the year before, I drove carpool to and from Eve’s school in the city several times a week. On any given carpool route, I could have between three and six girls in my car who ranged in age from eight to 14. Oh, the things I heard! (Just as an example, check out this post from last year.) And we had fun. I always provided snacks because the trek from school to home was generally around 45 minutes and for a middle-school-girl to wait that long after school to eat is, well, impossible. On Fridays, I always had chocolate which somehow became known as “carpool love,” and it wasn’t long before my car was officially named the Party Bus. I was always teasing the girls and asking them irreverent questions about their day and sometimes I was really quiet and hoped they would forget I was there and talk about things they didn’t especially want their parents to hear. It worked. I really miss that this year.
This year, the trip to and from school is only eight minutes and the only girls in my car are Eve and Lola. And it rocks.
You wouldn’t think (I certainly didn’t) that we could have much of a conversation in the eight minutes between school and home, but we can. There is something about having us all in the car, looking in different directions that feels informal and open. Generally someone will ask an innocent question or share some snippet from a book they’re reading or play their favorite song for us and that’s all it takes to get the ball rolling. More and more, as I pull up to the curb outside school and watch girls pile out of cars and run toward the building, Eve and Lola and I are snug in our car finishing up a conversation about life or teachers or just about anything else you can imagine. More and more, I have to urge them to gather their things and head inside before they are late, not because they are resisting school, but because we are having a “driveway moment” of our own.
It’s a beautiful thing.