The Writing Mamas Daily Blog

Each day on the Writing Mamas Daily Blog, a different member will write about mothering.

If you're a mom then you've said these words, you've made these observations and you've lived these situations - 24/7.

And for that, you are a goddess.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


Gum-Snappin', Music-Boppin' Road Trip

I felt delighted for the opportunity to drive my twelve-year-old son, George, and ten-year-old niece, Lily, on the two-hour trip from Suisun to Apple Hill Farms. With my work schedule -- anytime, especially with them, is precious. Adding to my happiness was that while the kids were absorbed by assembling their fishing gear, they didn’t think to bring their handheld video game devices, and I didn’t remind them.

Road trip! I thought.

At first my son asked that I tune the radio to Movin 99.7. While I listened to the lyrics for anything my sister or I would find unacceptable, the kids sat in the back seat eating chocolate chip cookies and swaying to the music. When I began to bob my head and move one arm to the beat, I could see my niece frown in the rear-view mirror. Clearly, if this were a road trip, it was theirs.

Somewhere between Dixon and Sacramento, 99.7’s signal disintegrated. I tried to find another station, none of which satisfied the kids or me. Seeing this as an opportunity to listen to a book on tape, I put David McCullough’s John Adams in the CD player.

The kids covered their ears and threw themselves from side to side screaming, “It burns! It burns! It burns!!!”

I turned off the CD.

George and Lily found tossing a sandwich-sized plastic bag filled with pretzels more entertaining than American history. Equally absorbing was their regression to sticking their tongues out at each other and George threatening to lick Lily’s arm.

Alone in the front seat, no radio, no conversation, I started snapping my gum.

“What’s that noise?” Lily asked.

“My Mom pops her gum,” George explained.

“What do you do with your gum to make that noise?”

I explained the fine art of making crack, pop and snapping sounds with chewing gum.

“How did you learn to do that?” Lily asked.

“My mother taught me when I little and we went on long drives like this. We didn’t have CD players or M3P players—no video games or cell phones—just the radio and each other.”

“What did you do?”

“Sometimes we’d look for bird nests and count them. We’d count out-of- state license plates. Or sing together. We’d chew gum and have bubble blowing contests or snap gum and see who made the loudest pops. My father preferred Life-savers candy and the best thing was when the flavor of my gum ran out and getting a Life-saver to re-sweeten it.”

I sensed I’d gone too far and braced myself prepared to have them cover their ears and scream, “It burns!” Instead, there was a moment of silence. Even by looking in the rear-view mirror I couldn’t gleam what they were thinking.

Lily leaned forward, “Can you show us how to snap gum?”

By Patricia Ljutic

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