“Are we there yet?” Mae said, an hour into our six-hour trip. The words aren’t
hers; they’re passed down from generation to generation of youngster wanting to
drive their parents batty with their blindness to the passage of time and space.

With Haze parroting everything Mae says, the phrase, at every turn, became
a cacophonous echo bounding through the mini-van while I navigated my way
through exchanges and around rages, not mine. Well, not all.

And yet, it’s comforting to hear Mae and Haze say these words. They joined
the ‘things you need to say if you’re a kid’ club.

If there were a list for the club, these phrases would be at the top:

“But she/he gets one”. If I had a dime for every time this was said after gymnastics,
I’d have enough money to buy, and move, the freezer full of goodies from the entry

“I think so?” In response to being asked if they did something, anything. Like flush
the toilet before a five-day road trip. I’m not sure why I ask, “Did you…” anymore. I
end up double-checking to make sure they did the activity I asked about. If I didn’t?
We would have to take out loans to pay our electric bill.

“You said if I…you would…” This is usually a complete misinterpretation of a series
of events we plan for them. But, there are times a “fact checker” has affirmed that
Mae was correct, I said that if we found every plastic bead on the floor I’d zap
myself into outer space and live there. Boy, did I disappoint them.

As much as these phrases may crawl under my skin, I realize their necessity. If kids
didn’t see things as unfair, we couldn’t teach what’s right. When we question their
completion of a task, it affirms that they have a duty and obligation to others. And,
it’s good to be held accountable for promises, though I wish they weren’t so excited
to see me live on the moon.

“Are we there yet?”

As parents, never, enjoy the ride, no matter how repetitious those bumps are.