Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Meet My Therapist

I have many favorite places. Some I rarely get to visit at this time of year, such as the ocean or the dock at camp. Others I experience daily such as my kitchen, my toasty warm family room, and my master bedroom. But there is one spot that is cramped, relatively speaking, and yet, when I am there, proves to be quite therapeutic.

After dropping off the girls at the bus stop or my son at Before Care, I drive solo to work, roughly a 25 minute commute. On the way I think of the day ahead and I make a mental “To Do First, Second, and Third” list. When I leave work several hours later, I get into my car and I always find myself talking aloud, practicing what I need to say the next day or venting and saying things I wish I’d had the courage to say today. It’s important to me to purge the frustrations or the stress of the work day before I get home and see my children. I appreciate those 25 minutes greatly on stressful days.

Other days, the ride home is full of song. I crank up the radio or pop in a cd and I find a good song to belt. I am definitely one of those people passing motorists smile or shake their heads at when they see me performing my own rock concert or Broadway musical at the driver’s wheel. It’s amazing the windows don’t shatter at times at the pure volume of the music. If I’m not singing, I’m often writing in my head. I’m composing an essay, a memoir chapter, or maybe even one of these blog posts. I “read back” what I’ve written, sounding out the best way to express myself, and the most appropriate final line. Most often the literature my students and I have discussed that day comes back to me as I think of the author’s writing style or characters. I mull it all over.

Often however, my car serves me more when I have a fellow commuter. I have long believed that talking to my children in the car yields the best discussions. Maybe it’s because we’re not hampered by one another’s eyes staring with partial judgment or at least inquiry. We’re simply staring ahead at the road as we chat. We seem to listen better without distractions. Together we’re held captive by the close quarters and yet our hearts feel more free than at any other time. So we share and we talk and we listen and we drive on and on.

Today I had the best of all these experiences. I dropped off my children in the morning, did some wonderful planning on the way to work, vented on the way back home, chatted with my daughter after picking her up for the dentist, and did some singing after dropping her off to meet up with friends. I parked the car in the garage and sat there for a second before opening the door to head inside the house. I felt at peace. It’s surely not the ocean and it is no where close to being on the dock, however it is as warm a place as my family room and as nourishing a spot as my kitchen. Time in my car renews me. Meet my therapist, the front seat of my car.

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