I'm Hiding Out In My Minivan (In The Driveway) Because I Needed A Damn Break Tonight

Nighttime image of a house from its driveway, the house has a porch light on
Nicole Johnson

This is me, outside, looking in. I am sitting in my car, alone. I needed a place. This is it. The bathroom was occupied.

I’m having a glass of wine and am listening to the crickets and my daughter. She’s whining from her open window. We are having what they used to call an Indian summer. It is unseasonably warm.

Occasionally my husband will tell her to quiet down. I’m not going back in to sort through it. I have to force myself to remain seated. I am usually the fixer. The one who soothes, calms, and negates. This is my role. Sometimes I hate it.

So here I am. Ass glued to the seat, wine in the cupholder, staring at the house that is normally my salvation but tonight is a prison. I needed to break out.

I’m sitting out here, reflecting, seeing my life in a different way, trying to change up the perspective because today….

I dyed my hair. It is lighter. The grays resisted though. The stubborn bastards are there to remind me that I’m getting older. I pluck one, three spring up in its place. They are wiry and demand to be seen. A testament to all the work of parenting, they will not be ignored.

I argued with my daughter. Her dirty room. Her slime. Her clothes. It is an ongoing battle. It feels like it has existed since the dawn of man.

I’m not thrilled with my husband, and I think tonight, the feeling is mutual. He procrastinates. I nag. This is marriage.

So I escaped to the solitude of my minivan. I see the scattered remnants of rides to and from school and sports and friends. Old packages, shoes, and bags. Things are unidentified. I turn away before I can figure out what they are.

Soon I’ll go in. Soon I’ll try again.

Because this is how it goes…sometimes.

Sometimes we need to escape for a bit to focus and breathe.

It doesn’t make us bad parents or people. It makes us human. It keeps us from returning our children to the hospital and our husbands to the places where we first discovered them.

Tonight I need a moment to be less than I usually am. Normally, I’m a lot. I’m kind of a big deal to them. Even though they don’t always know it.

Maybe you need a moment, too, to escape, to pause, to not be everything to everyone. Take it. Take the night.

I am. Tonight I’m a mom in a minivan parked in her driveway with a glass of wine. That’s all I can be. There’s no shame in it unless I allow there to be. Bottoms up.