Car Seat to Car Seat: A 35 Year Parenting Journey

Blog 2013 003My whole parenting journey seemed to start 35 years ago this week when we stuck an empty infant car seat in the back seat of our small car.  One of the many classes we took that season (which also included interviewing four pediatricians!) recommended getting the car seat all ready and placing it in the car.  So we did.

Labor started a few days later and all the way to the hospital, while I kept using the license plate of the car in front of us as a focal point and tried to breathe in rhythm, I was powerfully aware that the next time I sat in this car,  the car seat would no longer be empty. I still had a hard time envisioning that concept!

In what felt like in just a couple of days, we added another car seat, changed cars so we could have room for a third and eventually upgraded to a van so all six of us would have enough room to travel around the country.

The back seat was ALWAYS full.

Fast forward 26 years and we are driving our youngest child to college.  She and her oodles of stuff filled the back seat.  In between my last-minute attempts to appear wise, funny, and say only comments that would forever imprint what a wonderful mother she had, I kept thinking about the back seat.

In a few hours it would be empty again.  No more car seats, no more kids, tweens, teens and young adults.  No more toys, sports equipment, piles of books, backpacks, Gap bags, other artifacts of parental life.

How did it all go so fast?

Our son turns 35 tomorrow.  His back seat now holds three car seats.  I can tell him it will go fast but I think you have to be on the other side to fully understand that.

BTW, we have car seats in our back seat again for our grandchildren.  They will always need them, right?

Hope for the Best,



4 Responses to “Car Seat to Car Seat: A 35 Year Parenting Journey”

  1. 1 Jan Peterson September 23, 2013 at 4:14 PM


  2. 3 Mary Nelson September 23, 2013 at 4:32 PM

    Sometimes all three are in the back of mine–I don’t actually take them out anywhere anymore–the first few I did, but now I just pick up from church, go through a drive through, or bring back home after a play day with grandparents. It can be exhausting putting them into today though, not quite as easy as being parents.

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