Driving Time

At several points in my life I spent a lot of time driving. To and from college, work and on weekend trips to visit family and friends. Driving a lot was something that just had to be done. It was an easy thing to justify–back then.

Yesterday, Derek needed to be taken back to Pittsburgh. He mentioned that he was going to need to wake up early this morning and finish an assignment for class, and that he was going to need to pull a few “all nighters” this week to catch up on other assignments. I was puzzled. Before he came home to see is new nephew, Owen, he had told me that he was doing good with keeping up with class work. Why the sudden change? Driving Time.

To me, the time spent driving is automatically placed in a little category of “time spent doing something useful”. For Derek, especially this weekend, I guess you could say that the time spent in the car driving back and forth to Pittsburgh was time that could have been spent doing something more useful. Like working on class assignments. The main problem is that Derek is in Art School and a bouncing, weaving, vibrating car is not conducive to such work. He lost around 10 hours of prime study time.

Talking, sharing music and otherwise having fun was, and is, a good way to spend the driving time. Leave it to the student to be more focused on good grades than the parent.

Wait. Isn’t that backwards? Not in this family. I am lucky. My boys have the ability to see long term. They can stay focused when they need to be. They know what is important. I didn’t ask him, but my guess would be that for this particular weekend it was more important to Derek to see is nephew, brother and sister-in-law, and support them and let them know he is “there” for them, than it was to get class work done early. He sure didn’t seem upset at all about the prospect of a few nights with very little sleep.

Maybe he gets it from his old Dad. My driving time was close to 20 hours, and I don’t mind at all that my nerves are still jangling from all the excessive caffeine. Actually it reminds me of when I use to pull my own “all nighters” during college. I guess in certain cases, excessive driving time is still justified.

I love my family. I will do just about anything to be able to spend time with them. I think they feel the same way.