The Toddler in My Car

Baby Dressed as Snowman Cries and Throws Temper TantrumDepositphotos

Have you noticed how traveling will sometimes bring out the two-year old inside us? A little over a week ago I flew back to Arizona to attend the funeral for the dad of one of my best friends. I decided to grab a bite to eat in the Atlanta airport in between my flights. There was a couple standing behind me and this is what I heard.

Well, I pointed out the Bojangles but you wanted to keep walking.
You could have stopped at the Bojangles. I wanted to see what else was here.
No, you didn’t want us stopping there, that’s why we kept walking.
Look, you could have gotten Bojangles. I don’t care. You can go get Bojangles.
No, let’s just eat here.You didn’t want to stop there.
You could have stopped. Why would I try to tell you you can’t have Bojangles. I don’t tell you what to eat you can eat what you want…

As I listened to their bickering conversation, a few thoughts crossed my mind.

  • They’re not fighting about Bojangles. There is definitely some other unresolved, buried issues that should be addressed.  (Yes, this is the inner marriage counselor coming out of me.)
  • Really, they’re fighting about Bojangles?  I’m about to board a plane so I can be with my grieving friend who just lost her dad to cancer and they’re fighting about Bojangles.
  • Gosh, Lord, we really do worry and complain and argue about the stupidest things sometimes. It’s too bad we can’t briefly stand on the outside of our conversations and hear how we sound. It doesn’t take much for us to turn into toddlers throwing a tantrum.

A few minutes later I was sitting by my gate and waiting to board my plane.  The elderly couple sitting next to me had this conversation.

I’m trying to change our seat so we can sit together but the lady at the desk said the only seats together are located in the last row on the plane.
Oh, no, not the last row on the plane. I don’t want to sit there. That’s by the bathroom. It’s going to stink. (Makes a face)
Well, the lady at the desk said she will see what she can do.
I don’t want to sit by the bathroom.

This was humorous to me because I really don’t care where I sit.  We are flying 500 miles per hour, 30000 feet in the air. I’m just happy I’m not on the wing and there’s some smart person sitting in the cockpit who knows how to get this hunk of metal from point A to point B. Thank you, Lord!

Fast forward to this past weekend.  My family and I made the 11 hour drive back to eastern North Carolina to visit old friends for the week. We divided up the trip over two days. We left Friday night, drove 4 hours, and then stayed with some friends in Asheville.

The next day we didn’t get on the road until after noon.  We had 7 more hours to go. About 5 hours into the trip, I was driving. It was dark, we were getting tired of being in the car, and we all had to go to the bathroom. You know what happened then? I chose the exit from hell. Do you know the one I’m talking about?  The one where the sign on the side of the freeway informs you that there’s a McDonald’s at the next exit and so you take this next exit…trusting the sign people. Then as you are driving down the exit ramp you see the sign that tells you the distance to said McDonald’s….THREE MILES!  When you are traveling and have reached the “I’m just ready to be at our destination” point in the trip, then three miles in the wrong direction is similar to dog years.

Folks, I completely lost it.

It wasn’t pretty.

It was toddleriffic.

Needless to say, once we made it to the McDonald’s (an hour later ;)), my husband took over in the driver’s seat and I sat in the passenger seat to decompress and give the 42 year old a chance to return.


I thought about my meltdown and then remembered the people I heard in the airport.

Yes, Lord, we humans worry, argue and complain about the stupidest things.  

Today, I’m thankful for grace…especially on road trips.


4 thoughts on “The Toddler in My Car

  1. Stephen Haggerty

    Let’s be honest though- if there’s going to be one thing to try our patience with family members, it’s going to be a road trip 🙂 Props to having such a good perspective and takeaway from it all.

    1. Eileen Post author

      So true, Stephen! We used to make that 11 hour trip every year and my husband and I would always say the same thing as we pulled out of the driveway. “Let’s promise each other we will still be married when we get there” 😉

  2. Bill (cycelguy)

    They were fighting over a song? Sheesh! And I sure am glad I don’t get upset when i drive or I might actually honk my horn at people who refuse to signal or hold up an intersection because they stopped and no one can turn. I said I might. 🙂 happy Thanksgiving Eileen. Praying for God to give you abundant blessings.


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