Enjoying the view

Today I am linking up with the self love soiree by peggy from cake crumbs & beach sand.

In my family I am the driver. I don’t just mean this in a metaphorical sense.  I actually physically do all the driving in our car.  Not because I am a control freak and want to drive everywhere, but because my hubby has only ever had a motorbike licence.*

When we get out and about, or go on a drive, I can’t be the one to sit back, chillax and enjoy the view.  It’s kind of hard to do that from the drivers seat.

This weekend, we went for a drive to Cooktown.**  It has been about 13 years since I have been there and although it is a long drive ( it takes about 4 hours to get to Cooktown from Cairns) it is through some beautiful and amazing countryside and I was really looking forward to it.

So I made a pledge to myself that, on this journey, each time that I had an opportunity, I was going to stop – breathe it all in – and create an experience for myself.  

I was going to take the time and enjoy my family, enjoy the view, and enjoy watching my family enjoying the view.

Here are some of the sights….

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The drive was so beautiful. Breathtaking. Way more spectacular than the few photos I took on my iphone.

But actually taking the time to stop and appreciate my surroundings and appreciate my family in those beautiful surroundings made my heart sing.

cake crumbs and beach sand

 

 

*For those of you wondering why my hubby doesn’t have a car licence, you can read that here.

** For nerds like me who are interested in learning a bit more about Australian History or jus a bit about Cooktown, you can do so here and here.  But in short, the present day site of Cooktown is where Captain Cook managed to find safe harbour to repair his ship after it was damaged on the Reef.

Chauffer Mum

My hubby and I have been together for about 12 years.  Since then, I have been the one and only driver in our household.

My hubby became interested in motorbikes when he was a teen and his brothers helped him to learn how to ride and to get his motorbike licence.  But he never learned how to drive a car.

Since then, he has had a learners car licence, but never actually taken that extra step to get his car  licence.  It was always the plan for him to get his licence asap… but time has gone by… and it hasn’t happened yet.

At first he was nervous and felt too enclosed in the car.  Then we had children and we felt uncomfortable about him learning while they were in the car.  (My closest family is an hour away, and we don’t have anyone that can watch the kids).

He had a few driving lessons with a driving instructor and began to feel a bit more confident.  However, our car was too small for our brood, old, and uncomfortable to drive.  So about 12 months ago, we purchased a new car.

The plan was that in addition to our children not being squished into a sardine tin, we would be able to get out and about in the world more often, and he would feel more comfortable in the new car, and begin to practice more often to get his licence.

But 12 months have flown by, and still no licence.  It’s not anyone’s fault. It just hasn’t happened.  But to be honest, sometimes, I get disgruntled.

Because being the driver ALL the time is exhausting.

In the everyday nitty gritty I am responsible for all of the pickups, the drop offs, I am watching the clock, watching the traffic.  I can’t just zone out, chillax and enjoy the view.  If we need to go to anywhere, I can’t just send hubby.  Even if I am sick, or tired.  It has to be me.  And I sometimes feel like I am just the chauffer.

And so I grumble and I complain.

We have had many arguments.

So we have now made a truce and set out some goals.

Goal Number 1: Find an empty street or carpark, so hubster to get used to the feel of the car and the gears.  We will do this for at least an hour over the next two weekends.

Goal Number 2: Once hubster is more confident with the feel of the car and the gears, each week we will go on a family drive, and he will drive on the parts that are not too complicated so he can get used the feeling of the open road. By Mid-May he should be completing the entire drive.

Goal Number 3: Now that hubster is confident on the open road, he needs to get confident about the town. Dropping off the kids and driving to work in peak hour is a must.  By the beginning of June whenever we go shopping or go to errands hubby should be driving.

Goal Number 4: Mid June. The Freedom of having a licence is within hubbys grasp.  He goes for the driving test and succeeds.

Goal Number 5: July  Hubby drops me off at work and drops the the kids off at school and daycare and picks us all up in the afternoon 2 or 3 days out of 5.  If hubby needs to go to the shops or the gym, he takes himself.

Goal Number 6: Hubby takes the kids out for a drive somewhere so I can have some ‘me’ time at home….  Hubby drops me off at the beach for the afternoon….  

Yes, Goal Number 6 is my hidden agenda.

Well… a girl can dream.

Living life in Autopilot

I will admit it.

I have been living my life in Autopilot.

The hustle and bustle of working full time, and dealing with my three children, have left me exhausted.

Sometimes I feel like I have nothing more to give.

I am spent.

I dont know how many times my kids have whined …. “Muuuu—uuuuu—-mmmmmm…”

And I haven’t wanted to hear it.

And I have bellowed “WHAT!”

Only to have them say “Mum, I love you”.

Melt.

“Oh my little cherub (who incidentally was so doing my head in by jumping off the couch and landing on your brother less than 5 minutes ago)…. I love you too. Come here and give me a cuddle and a kiss”.

But to be brutally honest… so much of the time I am harrowed, I am stressed, and I am in a hurry.

And I have been living my life in autopilot.

I am not present.

I am thinking about things I need to do, I am worrying about the bills, I am constantly ticking off mental checklists. While I am dropping off the kids and driving to work, I am thinking about a million things.

“Did Mr S put his lunchbox in his bag? Is his bag in the car? Oh crap, I should be at work by now….”

“O… have you got your clarinet? Do you have your glasses? Did you remember your hat?”

“Ok when I get to work I must remember to check to see if that direct debit came out of my account. And I have to phone that customer.”

Of course, it is pointless to worry about these things when we are already half way to school. But I worry about them anyway.

So last week it all came to a head.

It was raining. I was late. I dropped off Ms O and Mr S at school, and I arrived at the daycare centre to drop off Mr J. I pulled up into the park closest to the entrance becuase I had no umbrella and I didnt want to get saturated.

I sprinted Mr J inside – even forgetting to sign him in – in my hurry to get back to the car before the next big downpour.

It’s funny the things you notice and the things that annoy you when you are in a hurry. The man and the woman inconveniently standing in front of the gate having a conversation when I ran inside were still there when I ran back out to the car.

The car space beside me was still empty… or was it?

I sprinted to the car, sat down, wiped the rain off my glasses and breathed a sigh of relief before reversing out of the car park. I reversed a bit, and then began to turn the car the way I normally do when the car space beside me is empty. (I do not reverse as far back and begin turning the car earlier).

Then I heard the crunch.

The crunch that someone driving a car does not want to hear. Especially if their car is less than 1 year old. Especially if they are already late for work.

The crunch forced me to be present. Forcing my brain to awaken from Autopilot. My first thought was “Nooooooooooooooooo W.T.F was that?” I looked to the right and noticed the car.

Damn.

The car wouldn’t move. My bumper bar and their left side passenger door were joined.

Slowly, I moved forward, turned and straightened back into the car space.

I jumped out of the car. The mum in the other car got out of her car as well.

It was my fault and there was no point in denying it. My brain was stil trying to come to terms with the fact that the empty car space actually had a car in it, and I had just run into it.

Thankfully, the lady I ran into was lovely. And very understanding. And not angry. We exchanged details, and I surveyed the damage.

Thank goodness, no major damage to her car except for some scrape marks down the side of her rear passenger door. She would still have to get it fixed by her insurance company, but apart from the scrape marks her car was relatively unscathed. The door still opened and closed fine. The toddler sitting on the other side of that door was undamaged, happy, and not traumatised in any way.

But my car had a big dent in the bumper bar.

Waaaah.

But there is a silver lining to this tale…

I realised I need to snap out of this autopilot crap. I need to be more present in my everyday life. There are things I cannot control. Mistakes will be made – some of them by me. I need to stop worrying about bad things happening. Bad things will happen whether I worry or not.

But if I spend all my time trying to control everything and worrying about everything, I will never enjoy the good things.

My plan for 2012?

Enjoy my family, live in the moment and enjoy the good things.