Anyone who has more than one child knows that the front seat is the prize.
Whether running errands, taking children to/from practice, getting groceries, or attending a birthday party, the coveted front seat goes either to the child who sat in the back last time, or to the child exhibiting only somewhat better behaviour than the wretched urchin who wouldn’t stop whining about Fruit Loops at QFC.
Sometimes no one sits in the front seat.
Most of the time, my brother and I shared the back seat. I think my mother decided it was easier than listening to the arguing about whose turn it was for the front.
But then she had to listen to us poking, fidgeting, kicking, and generally making mayhem in the back seat.
Really, it’s a wonder my mother didn’t pile into a parked car. Her driving skills under adverse conditions were far better than I’ve ever given her credit for.
When she had had enough, she would pull over to the side of the road – without saying a word.
It was often several minutes of continued bickering before we even noticed. Sometimes that was all it took. She would give us that look in the rear view mirror, and then we continued our journey.
Other times, there was a lecture. I have no idea what most of those lectures were, because – by the very nature of a lecture – I was not listening.
I do remember this.
After hearing about who pinched who back for the umpteenth time, or what started it, or whose feelings were hurt, she would tell us that we were lucky to have each other.
In that moment, we were not likely to admit it, but we knew what she said was true. We might come up with creative ways to make each other miserable, but if anyone else gave the other a hard time, we were back-to-back against the world.
We still are.
I’m thinking about my little brother today – no particular reason, it’s not his birthday or anything. This is a shout out to him.