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Carol Perkins: Staying in my lane

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By Carol Perkins

Buzz words and phrases catch on quickly and fade almost as fast. For several years, the catchphrase, "We need to get on the same page," wore me out. "Are we on the same page?" someone might ask. A new one has surged that is much more meaningful. I first heard it from my son when he joked (sort of), "Mama, you need to stay in your lane." This was a result of unsolicited advice, I'm sure.

A few nights ago, when I was staring at the ceiling, I thought about that phrase and its merit. Good advice is buried in those words, but for a mother, a grandmother, and even a meaningful aunt, crossing into another lane is inevitable. When we see a looming disaster, we want to prevent it even if we end up minding someone else's business who didn't want their business minded!

My husband Guy stays in his lane all the time. I can't think of a time when he has eased off the road except maybe when he made a suggestion to our son or daughter. (His suggestions and my suggestions are not received equally... you women understand what I mean). He doesn't offer unsolicited advice, make subtle comments hoping the intended receiver will "catch on," or look for signs of things not exactly right. I envy him.

According to my family, I need to stay in my lane. The problem is that I am not sure where my lane is until I cross over and then it's too late. I swerve back but not without a dent. I am notorious for wanting to give advice about my grandchildren when I don't think their parents are noticing. If I get something on my mind, I can't rest until I get it out. I usually start like this: "I know you don't want to hear this, but you need to....." I wasn't always good at taking advice, but I listened to my mother and she was usually right. My children may listen, but they had rather I "stay in my lane."

My grandchildren are used to my questions or suggestions when we travel. "Did you brush your teeth? I don't think you combed your hair. Didn't you wear that yesterday?" Guy tells me to leave them alone, but they would think I was sick if I did. On the other hand, they might be relieved now that they are between twelve and sixteen.

Guy and I were eating out recently, and the waitress had failed to bring all my order. I was in the middle of my meal and I looked at Guy, "Would I be out of my lane if I told her she forgot my toast?" He assured me that WAS my lane. He said, "If you told the waitress that she hadn't brought the toast to that woman at the table over the in the corner, you would be out of your lane."

What I need are guard rails or concrete barriers to keep me from crossing over. If I were a horse, I would have blinders. If I had blinders, I would go straight down a path and only see what is directly in front of me. If I did that, my adult children would call Guy to find out "what is wrong with Mama." When I'm riding with Guy, I often tell him to "pick a lane" when he straddles the line. I probably need to pick a lane and stay in it. Goodness me, I don't think I can!

Follow Susan and Carol-Unscripted on 99.1 the Hoss in Edmonton on Tuesdays from 10amCT to 11amCT and replay on Sundays from 4pmCT to 5pmCT. Listen to Carol's podcast at for entertaining stories and a replay of Susan and Carol-Unscripted.

This story was posted on 2020-02-06 07:14:43
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