Masthead header

31 Days {12} :: Turn the Radio Off

jordan receiving his license+

My son started driving last January. The day after he got his license, he drove himself to school and he took his brother with him. We went from three kids in the car to one overnight. And it got quiet. And I realized how much we used those trips back and forth to school to connect. And I so miss them.

Now, my daughter and I chat. We talk about who she sat by in lunch and what Mrs.  Smith had her do in PE. We talk about what Nancy wore and what Amy said. We talk about what homework didn’t get done at school {she’s crazy about getting her homework done before she gets home-thank goodness!}. Sometimes she reads to me. I’m learning about Tennessee geography right now and The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle.

The point is, with the radio off, we talk. We share, we connect, we bond. She gets to talk about anything, and I get to listen with intent, and express my interest and concern and love and all those things a mom feels for her daughter. And she feels that. She learns through a subtle, daily experience that she is loved unconditionally.

And then there are those days where she {or he} reaches for the dial and turns. It. UP. And we sing out loud, or sometimes, I sing out loud to their mortification. Either way, we laugh {or at least, I humor them} and let the stresses of the day go.

Turn the  radio/ipod/DVD player off and talk. Connect. Share. Laugh. It’s about the time spent together, being attentive and interacting.


Just to keep it real, it took us a while to get here. It used to be utter chaos… me, short on temper and patience;  they, short on energy and good dispositions.

Dare I ask, what’s it like in your car after school?

  • October 12, 2011 - 6:51 pm

    polly - terrific reminder! our car is part counseling center, restaurant, dream machine, chaotic music mobile. our tradition is best/worst/funniest part of day. miss you..

  • October 12, 2011 - 6:52 pm

    polly - terrific%20reminder!%20our%20car%20is%20part%20counseling%20center%2C%20restaurant%2C%20dream%20machine%2C%20chaotic%20music%20mobile.%20our%20tradition%20is%20best%2Fworst%2Ffunniest%20part%20of%20day.%20miss%20you..

  • October 12, 2011 - 7:37 pm

    Ruth - Patty~
    That is such a sweet time for the two of you to spend together. I love that she even reads to you and you learn together. What a special bond that is being formed there and it will continue through the most difficult adolescent times.

    Great reminder.


  • October 12, 2011 - 9:05 pm

    Pam Sawyer - Patty, I love this and agree 100%. When Brit started driving I was a little sad because our car talks were gone. I felt so connected to her back then because we seemed to share so much more. Now I’ve got Bailey for another 7 years and we do the same thing, whether she’s in the mood to talk or just chill I love those few minutes of alone time.

  • October 12, 2011 - 9:52 pm

    Stephanie - We do the same…only I have two in the car. They are learning to take turns. We only turn up the radio if there’s a great song someone (or all of us) want to sing along to. Driving time is some of the best quality time we get. I really look forward to picking up the kids from school and hearing about their days.

  • October 13, 2011 - 7:39 am

    Cate - Our kids learn to drive early down this end of the world, and my two have had licenses since aged 16 1/2 (and I held them back from most of their mates who had them earlier than that!)

    The long chats we used to have when I was ferrying them around are the thing I miss the most, as these days I am lucky to grab a few minutes as everyone flies in different directions.

    (Got your email too – will write back asap. Been an odd few days which you’ll understand if you read my blog)


  • October 15, 2011 - 4:58 pm

    Toni - When my oldest son started driving, I thought what a help it would be for him to “take-n-get” his brother and sister. About two weeks into this change, I realized how much I missed all of us in my little Honda. Then I saw the relationship that my boys were building by riding to and from school together. They laughed more, spent more time together, and seemed to be bonding in a way they never had. It made my heart smile. I still miss the three kid madness being in my car but my daughter and I sure do get a lot more shopping done without those boys 🙂

  • February 12, 2016 - 2:41 pm

    What I Did for Love {or, 10 Ways to Make Your Loved Ones Feel Loved} » Finding Serendipity - […] off. turn off the radio in the car. turn off the tv at dinner {as a practice, but remember #3}. turn off the cell phone, […]

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *