One of the things that surprised me most about being a mom was how quickly I turned into a taxi driver. It was always in the back of my mind that, eventually when Gia and Nicholas were older, I’d ferry them to and from after school activities day in and day out. But all of that seemed so far off. I had no idea that I’d start that part of mommyhood when Gia was just 4 years old.
I also had no idea that being the taxi driver would be one of the best parts of my day.
Gia and I spend a lot of time together. She goes to school every day from 9-12:30 and, with the exception of dance class and gymnastics, I’m with her the rest of the time. And I love it. But, not all of that time spent together are is quality time. For a lot of it she’s playing with her brother or I’m cooking dinner or doing chores.
But everything changes when we’re in the car together. Something magical happens. We have girl time. We listen to the radio and sing along to our favorite Taylor Swift songs. Even though we’ve heard Blank Space 100 million times, I still giggle every time Gia chants “Boys only want love if it’s toooorture” in her cute little 4 year old voice. Someone also happens to like to belt out “maybe we found love right where we aaaaaare”. (Ahem, Gia) The ride can be 5 minutes or 15 minutes–it doesn’t matter. We have the best time.
And so much of the time, Gia opens up about school and life while we’re in the car. Maybe it’s because she knows she has my attention or maybe it’s that we’re both more relaxed in the car and she senses that, but nearly every car ride includes some sort of story from my girl.
Last week we were driving to dance class and Gia piped up from the backseat. “Mommy, do you know what happened at school today?”
“What happened?” I asked.
Gia told me that a little girl in her class–let’s call her Hannah — was mean to Gia. Apparently, while they were playing hair salon, Hannah said she didn’t like Gia’s hair.
Of course my heart broke a little when Gia told me someone at school said something mean to her about her appearance. Girls have so much pressure on them from such a young age and the last thing I want is for one of Gia’s peers to plant the less than seed in Gia’s mind. But what concerned me most was Gia’s reaction to the unkind words. I carefully asked her what she did when Hannah said those words and how it made her feel. Her response?
“It’s not nice to say mean things to friends. We don’t do that. We’re nice to our friends. Right, Mommy?”
“Right!” I said. “And how did you feel when Hannah said that to you?”
“It hurt my feelings. But only a little. Not a lot — so don’t worry.” Said with a big smile on her face.
I breathed a sigh of relief. Sometimes I underestimate my girl. Sometimes I put my grown up feelings about my appearance onto my confident girl. Sometimes I worry about her more than she needs me to. Sometimes I want to keep her in our little family bubble and never let her out. But I can’t do that any more than I can stop worrying about her. So, I’m going to just have to trust that my girl knows what’s important and what’s not. But when she needs my help figuring things out, I’m here. In fact, the answers are only a car ride away.