We hadn’t been on the highway much more than a few minutes when my four-year old asked the age-old question, “When are we going to be there?”
At first I tried using the moment as an opportunity to teach her about time. Units of time, like minutes and hours, don’t completely make sense to her yet, so in referencing these increments I equate them to something she gets. Five minutes is equivalent to reading a book. A half hour is just like a Daniel Tiger Neighborhood episode. One hour equals the time it takes to drive to the family cabin. And that’s when my teachable moment collided with a slew of problems — the largest being that the three-hour trip was well out of her intellectual grasp.
Her questioning snowballed. “You aren’t answering me…when are we just going to be there?” she persisted. The more I tried to explain the more frustrated I got, and the more she felt like we were absolutely nowhere. “There” was unobtainable, unimaginable.
Dad finally chimed in. “We’re already there–there is here.” Ah, Dad and his Zen approach to life. My daughter and I were practically speechless, not typical for our personalities. But it was a good lesson for all. Right then, we were in the most important place. It didn’t matter where there was. We were here. We were in a car with family, amongst others on the highway, surrounded by mountains, along side rivers and forests, with weather patterns swirling overhead. Here was a pretty nice place to be.