Every day, after picking the girls up from daycare, I drive the couple of blocks to our house and pull up to the street-side mailbox.  Every day when we approach the mailbox, I hear the click of Maddie’s seat belt releasing.  And every day, I groan inside.

I don’t know how it started, but we have to play this game.  Maddie will hop down from her booster seat and “hide” in the back of the van.  I will glance back and pretend to be surprised.  “Oh no, where is Maddie?” I will ask.  Katie will grin.  “Uh oh,” I will continue, “we must have left her at daycare!  Do you think we should go back and get her?”  Katie will giggle.  A giggle will escape from Maddie, too, hidden in the back of the van.  I’ll pull into the driveway and unload Katie and all our bags from the car, talking the whole time about what life will be like without Maddie.  Eventually, Maddie will reveal herself, and I’ll be oh so surprised.

Every. Day.  The same thing.

Most days, I just don’t want to play along.  The day is long and I am tired and can’t I have just two minutes of peace and quiet before we go inside and start the unpacking and the snacking and the cooking and the Mommy-where-is-this and Mommy-can-I-have that?  Can’t we just pull into the driveway in silence, for the love of my sanity?  I’m just so tired.

I don’t want to play this dumb game.

When I was little, my mom would leave us in the car while she ran into the Dairy Basket for a week’s worth of lunch meat.  (Back then I guess it was okay for parents to leave their kids alone in the car for a minute.  A safer world and all that.)  She would get back in the car, and my sister and I would hide behind the front seat making animal noises.  “What’s that noise?” my mom would ask.  “Is there a pig in the car?”  Gosh, we thought that was so funny.  I’m sure my mom was bone tired and wishing for some peace and quiet, for the love of her sanity.

I remember those nights for some reason.   After all these years, I still remember my mom playing along so we could have a laugh.

Which is why tomorrow, when we pull up to the mailbox and I hear the click of Maddie’s seatbelt, I’ll glance back and pretend to be surprised.


8th Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge.  Join at Two Writing Teachers.

8th Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge. Join at Two Writing Teachers.

25 thoughts on “Again

  1. That lonely again. I feel like that lonely again says it all. I don’t know if it’s because I know you I can hear you reading this but I can sense your sense of I’m doing this because it’s my job as maddies mom. It’s an important again.

  2. It’s what the girls will remember, so soldier on. So much better than remembering seeing a parent on their cellphone all of the time. You’ll be glad that you did.

  3. Dana, I love the way you link a present story to that of your past. And make meaning of both. Years from now when Maddie has long forgotten this game, you will think of it fondly, grateful for this connection. The moments fly so fast!

    Who knows, maybe one day when adult Maddie will be getting out of her vehicle to get something on her way home, she too will be bone tired, and her toddler will create a hide-and-seek in the car game. Maybe she will be brought back to this moment to understand and appreciate more deeply a part of you.

  4. This is perfect. It couldn’t be more true. There are some routines of Ava’s that think “not again!” I love how you brought your past memories into this piece and related it to your present. Sometimes I think our parents were superheroes. I often think “how did my mom and dad have the time to do this with us?” This piece was very relatable.

  5. The sweetness of this makes me misty eyed! 🙂 I see the scene so clearly. Your internal dialogue contrasted with your actions. It touches my heart because it speaks large about your love for your girls! It speaks of sacrificing moments of peace for the joy of Maddie.

  6. So true! The things I do again and again sometimes feel like a sentence I must endure… but all it takes is a moment of reflection to remember that this is the stuff that it’s about! Beautiful slice. Thank you for sharing it.

  7. I know it seems like forever but it is only a short phase. You are such a good mommy. It’s funny but we play the same game here. When Dad picks picks up sis and I arrive home, she hides in the house and I am supposed to ask “Where is my girl? Did you forget to pick her up?” This silly game must provide them some sense of significance and control in their little world. So Mammas continue to play because we are raising beautiful strong, independent, happy women!

  8. It’s funny how kids like the same things to be done over and over again and still get a kick out of it. They appreciate you playing along with them. I know the feeling of having to do the same thing everyday but we Moms know its what makes them happy.

  9. The things we do again and again and then again some more. I know she loves it so. Which is the exact reason we do everything we do.

  10. We do all kinds of things because of love. Some day Maddie may get tired of this game she likes to play and although she might not miss it I am sure that you will. Like you did, the girls are learning a great lesson about how we do things simple because we love.

  11. I love this. I am guilty of saying “It was funny once or twice but now I’m done.” They won’t do it forever and then you’ll say, “remember when you used to play that hiding game?” Parenting is tiring but man is it worth it. I just played Yahtzee for the third time in two days. I get it alright.

  12. This is very real and wonderful slice of your life. Someday, when one of your girls gets married, the other will mention this in her speech. Or, perhaps it will be at the Thanksgiving dinner table. Or, on the eve of heading off to college. These are the slices we keep.

  13. Maybe one day WE can play the seatbelt game that Gabby’s plays and then hide in the car and play Maddie’s seatbelt game. We just have to make sure we stop at the liquor store first so the game could last longer when we hide in the back seat.

  14. You are a wonderful mom, and someday they will think it was dumb & won’t play, then you’ll remember & wish they weren’t so grown up. My daughter went through this with Ingrid, but it was ghosts in the car. They had to look thoroughly before she would get in. How fun kids are to make up these games. And again, you’re a great mom, Dana!

  15. In the moment, it’s a little exhausting. But I find myself wishing for those times back, 5+ years later. They grow up too fast. And we didn’t need seatbelts or car seats back then either!

  16. There is so much love in this post! Three generations of girls who know how to play and laugh even when they are tired!

  17. You’re a good sport (& a great mom) for going along with this, Dana. No doubt he girls will remmeber this. (And I’ll be thankful Isabelle is just under the booster seat weight now. Unclicking herself? Omg. That’ll be the death of me.)

  18. Jennah plays this game with her dad and the daycare staff. Every morning when we walk into her classroom, she covers her eyes. No matter what’s going on in that room, someone will always turn and ask “Where is Jennah?” Your piece reminded me of how much I love the SB staff!

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