I used to tell my little girls that all the time. Use your words to show how you feel, not tears or fists or tantrums. So allow me to use mine to explain why I cried when traded in our vehicle. It wasn't about the car, the old white mini van with scratched paint and a window that wouldn't roll down. It’s wasn't the engine that was worth, in the heartless pages of a blue book, only a few dollars. It wasn’t trading away that vehicle that set my tears in motion.
It was the little Barbie purse I found in the back seat of that old van, a small leftover from the dolls that went with us everywhere. The CD player that never worked quite right? It was thanks to a wee one who pushed a dime into the slot when we were killing time before some swim lessons. The stain on the carpetwas from a juice box dropped on the floor, perhaps after a zoo trip when little red cheeked girls fell asleep in car seats on the way home.
It wasn't the car. It was the knowledge that I am not the mini van mom anymore. I am not the woman with little children in tow, always ready with a bag of goldfish and an extra set of clothes tucked under the seats just in case. I am not that mom with soothing answers to all questions and a stash of secret snacks in the glove box. I am not that mom, not anymore.
Now there is texting and laughing in our new vehicle, the one with the buttons that I can’t figure out. High school dances replace zoo trips and Mommy and Me swim classes. I am the driver, the quiet chauffeur, who listens to the teens chattering in my car, silent and reliable, watching my girls turn into women via the rear view mirror.
I am not that mom. And they are not little girls. And the tears are not about the car.
Did you ever experience a moment like this?