“Would you mind dropping me to work in the morning?” my husband asked before we went to sleep. We only have one car, you see, and he usually caught the bus, but it would be a public holiday. Kids would be home from school so a no-rush-morning would make it possible.
“Sure, we can get the kids up and do that.”
Dragging four children out of bed early in the morning wasn’t in my top 1000 things to do on a public holiday, but neither was my husband overjoyed about working on this day. We’re a team, and this is the sort of stuff we do to support each other.
Plus, I reasoned – thinking of the positives – it would get us all going in the morning so we could make the most of the day. AND it would mean I could get a coffee somewhere. That alone, would make it worth it. Yes. It almost seemed like a good idea then!
The morning was crisp and the cool air hit my cheeks as I made the short trip from the warmth of the house to the car, willing the heater to warm quickly. The kids brought their pillows and doonas into the car with them. I glanced back from my position in the front passenger seat and smiled at the sight of piles of bedding where half-asleep children snuggled. It was quiet.
My husband and I enjoyed the 20-minute drive into the city, allowing time for coffee stop.
Get in driver seat.
Coffee in the cup holder.
“Wave to Dad kids!”
On our way home again.
The car was no longer quiet by this stage. The troops had stirred and conversation started.
“We are the only ones without a toy Yoda,” one of them said.
Kids conversations can be weird at the best of times, but I wondered how the topic of Yoda (you know from Star Wars?) started. Seemed like an odd thing to discuss first thing in the morning.
Despite being a Star Wars mad family, it was true: we didn’t have a Yoda (LEGO) figurine.
I mentally put a toy Yoda in the ‘Present Ideas Box’ in my brain for later.
The conversation continued:
“Aunty Shazz has a toy Yoda.”
“Yeah, so does Aunty Bon and Grampy.”
“Aunty Em has a one too,” my son, the youngest, piped up for the first time.
This conversation is getting curiouser and curiouser, I thought.
“But we did have one,” the eldest chimed in.
“No, we didn’t,” the younger one retorted.
“Yes we did! And we have one now.”
The protest halted momentarily, as I assumed, the younger child took in the older ones words.
“We are IN one right now,” she added for good measure.
Let me explain this moment in my dragged-out-of-bed brain. It was like this:
As the words “we are IN one right now” hit my ears, was processed by my brain, then a million pathways opened instantaneously. All the snippets of conversation for the last 10 minutes became roads aligning to a central point.
I laughed then. I laughed out loud.
When I recovered from my laughing fit enough to speak, I said, “TOYOTA!”
(AS IN THE BRAND OF THE CAR WE WERE IN).
I realised all along they were talking about a car brand, not a Star Wars character.
Hello?! Brain where are you?
If I wasn’t driving, I’m sure I would have seen, “um yeah mum: Toyota. So what?” looks on my children’s faces.
Still laughing, I explained, “I thought you said a Toy Yoda. Yoda. Star Wars. Toy Yoda. Toyota.”
The car erupted in laughter and the conversation continued on a slightly different vein: The kids then decided the popular Oh What a Feeling! associated with Toyota should be done with a toy Yoda jumping in the air. Oh what a feeling! Toy Yoda (jump). Marketing gold.
But this isn’t about cars, or toys, or tag lines. It’s about family. It’s about the little conversations that you have in the car early in the morning. It’s about making the best of situations, even if they aren’t ideal. It’s the quirky uniqueness that become like family glue. Because unique family moments turn into memories, and memories turn into stories, and stories turn into heritage.
I’ve been a parent for 14 years now, and I can tell you, it’s these small joys that make family life, fun and amazing. It was a good day.