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the car ride

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My family has always gone on vacation. We have traveled everywhere across the spacious USA! I can still remember the shimmering cool water of the Florida Springs, and the Rocky Mountains looming over the wild plains of Kansas like giants. The places I have seen and experienced are endless. Thanks mom and dad, but throughout these incredible ventures, one miniscule detail always sticks out like a sore thumb; the car ride!
Don’t get me wrong, I love going on vacation! I revel in the adventures new places bring. It’s just that being stuck in a minivan with five other people and a dog for hours and hours can be quite excruciating. Finally, with everything ready to go, we’re off, right? Wrong! We always end up turning right back to get my little sister’s stuffed animal or make sure all the lights are on timers and the oven is off! Then my mother’s dreaded statement, “I hope everyone has gone to the bathroom, because we won’t be stopping for a couple hours!” Of course, my brother in the back of the van is the one who has to go. Climbing right over me, he disturbs the precarious comfortable position I am already in. Restoring my lost territory, we set out again! With everyone excited about the trip, the car ride is peaceful for a few hours. Cramped and hungry, lunch time arrives bringing on a new wave of tension! The silence is shattered with roaring voices, “How much did he get? Mom!!! Grant is picking all the M&M’s out of the trail mix!” After lunch, time inches by at a snail’s pace, interwoven with the famous cries of “How much longer? Are we there yet?” Then, with just an hour to go, almost there, out come the final bathroom calls…
Ok. I will admit it; I may have exaggerated the car ride a bit! In spite of car rides being painfully long and tedious, they have subtly awakened auspicious characteristics into my life. I have learned a great deal of patience, with others and with myself. I’m becoming more successful at stopping myself before I go into a huge tirade that would hurt both parties. “Breathe…” I tell myself. Knowing that my emotions often cloud my thinking, I try to detach and look at both sides of the situation. When I do this, I find I am able to discuss the issue in a more productive way. A compromise keeps both parties from wasting time and energy, and prevents the extreme resentment of a win-lose ending. Wow!! Who would have ever thought I could gain so many life lessons from those family car rides?
As I look back, I realize how important they were in shaping who I am today. Every experience in my life, whether large or small, is there for a reason, bringing something new and challenging for me to learn. I can’t wait for my next family vacation with the lessons and adventures it brings.





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