Moms on the run | VailDaily.com

Moms on the run

Elizabeth Chicoine

Mom’s speedometer: Stop, Slow, Quickish, Hold-On, Bite Lip, Shut Eyes … STOP!The above quip came from a quirky e-mail forward entitled, “If Women Controlled the World.” Yes, it made me chuckle. Of course, if it were my invention, the photo and caption would be of the Gas Gauge, reading “Call Husband, Find Cell Phone, Eat Crow, Prayer of Penance, Not Too Late, Emptiish, Low Fuel, Hanging in There, No Problem!”Yes, I drive, a lot. But to all of you tree-hugging, car-pool lane only, scooter-riding others, let me please explain. I drive with and for my children. Mostly, may I add, that they know it and appreciate Mom.Appreciation. One small word that speaks volumes. I learned about it in third grade. Ms. Bodnar had a jar. It was called The Appreciation Jar. I loved Ms. Bodnar. She was evolved. Beyond The Iowa Test of Basic Skills (indeed testing existed in the ’70s, yet it didn’t dictate teaching), Ms. Bodnar taught us about citizenship. Her simple message was to appreciate your fellow person. To this day, I carry her message as my mantra. My kids, in their early years as civic contributors, will learn to appreciate who gets them from A to Z. Thirty-something, that’s me. Did I know that all of my youthful aspirations of mothering would also co-enlist the term driver? I am my child’s end of the rainbow in some elementary way. So being that reliable parent, I hop back into the trusty, dusty van that I call Gingerbread Van. Its name came from my brother. Way back in the ’80s, our family drove a two-toned brown van, complete with a refrigerator and wood paneling, from Iowa to Aspen. My precocious brother (who was probably all of 9 at the time) announced to all on the CB Rradio: “Run, run, run, as fast as you can, all of you smokies out there, you can’t catch me, I’m The Gingerbread Van.” My poor parents. But then again, he was the middle child. And to save you all grief, he is doing quite well. Phi Beta Kappa, great job, amazing and equally smart wife and kids. Even he survived The Growing Up Years.But back to that gingerbread colored van of mine. It swoons its way from the fairgrounds to the waterfalls of East Vail almost daily. I tell my kids to value the ride. Perhaps my mom taught me not so long ago that the ride is half of the success in life. The “getting there” moments do matter. We matter.Sigh, the ever-so-perfect, environmentally friendly plans that my husband and I made in our younger years of marriage changed. No, our son doesn’t bike to school. Dad and mom drive him. On some wintry days, the drive can be up to an hour. But guess what? Sometimes the driver is the winner. He/she gets one-to-one talk time with our boy. Priceless. Thank heaven for the commute. We know what’s pertinent in our son’s life and what’s happening in school. “Fine” doesn’t cut it. We have discussions. Talk can be as simplistic as the fact that the van needs gas. Understanding that your parent is at work to help you is a big concept for a little kid. But even to stretch this one a bit, as much as we can, we try to involve our kids in our work, too. A classic example was my “mug-shot” moment for this column. I ended up taking my kids along. Might as well show them Mommy’s new work place. I fussed and dressed until I thought I looked pretty fabulous. The Vail Daily’s 20-something, smart-looking photographer took my picture. I specifically told him please and thank-you, but don’t show me that photo. I am simply non-photogenic. He was so darn professional. Photo’s snapped. He picked. Done.Well, the kids and I hustled out of my new work place, and my daughter looked at me sweetly on the stairs as we left the office. She exclaimed, “Mommy, what’s that on your teeth? I think it is lipstick.” Yep. My 4-year-old daughter saved me. Vanity is OK when you must look at that same darn photo for the next 52 weeks. Better look picture perfect. Thanks, darling. I appreciate you. Needless to say, I scurried back up those stairs, and retook that photo. I’m already much in debt to this patient photographer. I appreciate you.After such a busy day, I think I’ll change the message on our answering machine tonight. “Missed you, but we appreciate your call.” Keep it short if you call us, by the way. We don’t have voice mail. It lets the “talkee” talk far too long. Indeed, if women did control the world, we’d limit the time that others could talk. We have far too much to say ourselves. Elizabeth H. Chicoine of Eagle can be reached at echicoine@centurytel.net. Personal columns do not necessarily reflect the views of the Vail Daily.Vail, Colorado