By far, though, the very best decision I made last year, was to drive my kids to and from school. The elementary kids are close enough to walk and they usually do that with their friends. Last year, it was just TCD who had the option to take the bus, but I chose to drive her the 1 mile to the middle school across the street. It was the best 15 minutes of the day, especially in the afternoons, to be able to have quality time with her. I realized very quickly that she is at her most open and chatty right after school, and I learned so many things about her on those drives to and from school.
This year, she is at the freshman center which is considerably farther away, and Spell Girl is at the middle school. We had some decisions to make about whether I was going to continue to drive them both. If it was worth it for Spell Girl to have to be ready 35 minutes early so that we could drive all the way to TCD's school first? How I would pick them up after school when they both have the same release time? If we were depriving them of some great neighborhood friendship or missionary experience by not allowing them to ride the bus? If it was still the best use of my time? Well, today, I got a very definite answer to those questions. (I already had the answer, but today solidified it for me.)
Every morning, there is energy in the car. Two teenage girls could stand still and there would be an abundance of energy. But throw them into a moving vehicle with no other distractions except their mother, and it becomes the tangible, powerful kind...especially when it's positive. On days like today, we all sort of feel like superheroes when we get out of the car.
Some mornings we talk about insignificant things...the agenda for the day, their classes and homework. Other days, we talk about their disappointments or their frustrations. Today, we talked about the way Heavenly Father speaks to us...yep, we really did! I'm not sure how it started...how does it ever start? TCD talked about seminary, then Spell Girl related something from a talk she heard in church, then that led to marriage and the Temple and making good choices, and then finally TCD said, "I've heard that so much lately...seminary, YW, the Fireside!" And Spell Girl agreed, "yeah...that's so weird when you hear the same thing over and over again. Why does that happen?" And I realized that the door had just been flung open for one of those "and thus we see..." moments. So I jumped in and told them about the law of witnesses.
The scriptural law of witnesses requires that in the mouth of two or three individuals shall every word be established (Deut. 19:15; 2 Cor. 13:1; 1 Tim. 5:19).And then I told them that that's how Heavenly Father teaches us. When something "pricks our hearts" repeatedly, it's the Spirit's way of getting our attention. He says it through multiple people, on different occasions, and in different settings. And our job isn't necessarily to figure out why he's saying it, but to hear it and remember it. The WHY will come later. I told them to write down the things that keep coming up and remember them. There will be a time when they'll read those words again, and they'll think, "Oh, that's why I needed to hear that so many times."
My contribution to that conversation lasted all of 2 minutes. They started it, they guided it, and then they opened the door for me to finish it. I could not have gotten into the car and said, "I'd like to discuss the law of witnesses today" and gotten anywhere with it. I've learned to let them decide where the conversation is going to go. And I mostly listen. It is inspiring and overwhelming to have little glimpses into the desires of their hearts and their hopes for the future. They are amazing girls.
And everyday, even when the energy doesn't make me want to move mountains like it did today, I'm still grateful for the time I have carved out to spend with them. There is nothing better that I could do with that 30 minutes. There is no bus experience that could be more meaningful for them than the time the three of us have to teach each other and to strengthen our love for one another. Last night, Spell Girl said, "You know what my favorite time of the day is? The rides to and from school."
The little things are totally worth it.