I’m driving and my attention is on the road, but with three kids in the backseat, my rearview mirror glances award me more than a road view. I’m watching you. You are joking with your sister and brother. I hear you. Your laughter is a delight. You are funny, but your words quickly become cutting. I don’t know why. Your little brother is growing a thick skin. I give you reminders to be kind, and tell you to stop. And then I watch as you decide to put your hands out your window. All I see is your hands raised to the sky, and I know that feeling: the air pushing on you, the wind so loud. Your hair is blowing from your face, and I wonder what is happening in your mind. I’m hoping you are feeling peaceful with the white noise, and the chance to let go of impulse control and just breathe. The next time I glance back you have a water bottle hanging out of the window too, and you are experimenting with drops. They are falling out of the bottle directly into the car. You have invented a misting air conditioner, and nobody else in the backseat seems to mind. I wonder about the water since I can’t see it leaving the bottle, but I can see it on your face and hair, and I can hear your brother and sister laugh as you say “Our own rainstorm!” I’m proud of myself. I smile at your antics, and your joy. Checking myself, I don’t feel an urge to have you stop.
We turn down the road that leads to the coffee shop, and suddenly your brother and sister complain loudly, “Ugh!” and “He dumped the rest of his slushy out the window!” and “It’s all over the car!”
I’m annoyed, and I’m sure the drive through barista thought it was weird, but that’s okay. I decided that it’s no big deal. My annoyance is easily forgotten if I just picture you: hands out the window, hair blowing in the breeze.