Shotgun Rider

There were days when I thought I’d take her to college still riding in the backseat, comfortably sitting in her booster.  When they told us to keep her facing backward until she was a year old or 20 pounds, I felt guilty as I turned her crying eyes around even while she weighed in at two pounds shy.

Roll, won’t you come roll with me slow, fast, full speed

Girl wherever sweet time takes us

When she grew out of her second car seat, we invested in a five-point harnessed booster to fit her small frame.  Even as her friends retired their boosters, we kept her seated higher, fitted into the crook of the seat belt in the corner of the backseat.

Hang, with me down this old road
Only God knows where we’ll go
Don’t matter long as I’ve got your love

She complained that it wasn’t fair.  I explained that when we log 25,000 miles a year up and down our winding mountain road, that this was not a negotiation.

I don’t ever want to wake up
Lookin’ into someone else’s eyes

This was the year she would give up our nightly Harry Potter readings, her stuffed animal obsession,

Another voice calling me [mama]
On the other end of the phone

This was the year she moved to the front seat, got her own cell phone, and grew into a girl that sometimes takes me a moment to recognize as she walks out to the car after school or answers the call from her dad.

A new girl puttin’ on her makeup
Before dinner on Friday night

This is the year that I sometimes forget she is only ten.  That we both teeter, one foot on each side of the divide that will bring us into, out of, and through her teenage years.  Before we both know it, I’m sure we will be arguing over curfews and clothes.  We’ll be slamming doors and saying things we both regret.  We’ll be putting on makeup side-by-side at the bathroom sink and sharing the same shoe size.  We’ll be talking about boys, booze, and breakups.  She’ll take the keys and I’ll ride along.

No I don’t ever wanna know, oh oh
No other shotgun rider, beside me, singin’ to the radio

But I wouldn’t have it any other way. When I stop and look, I can see the ten she is right now: purple hair and braces filling her smile.  And every now and then, when I stop and look, she lets me glimpse the girl she was at nine, the one in the booster seat.  At eight, the one spooning brownies onto fro-yo.  At seven and six and five, crying when we forgot one of the stuffed pups at home. At four and three and two, singing along to Pink or Taylor Swift in the backseat. At one, saying “Mama, you my best fred.” And at the moment she graced this place with her presence, looking into my eyes.

I see her as she is,  my shotgun rider,  for now.

*Lyrics from Tim McGraw’s 2014 hit “Shotgun Rider.”

slice of life challengeI’m participating in the 10th annual Slice of Life Challenge over at Two Writing Teachers. This is day four of the thirty-one-day challenge.  It’s not too late to make space for daily writing in a community that is encouraging, enthusiastic, and eager to read what you have to slice about.  Join in!


12 Comments Add yours

  1. Lisa Keeler says:

    This is beautiful. I love how you wove the song lyrics into your slice. May I use this piece for inspiration later this month on one of the daily calls for slices? You can let me know here, or email me at


    1. Morgan says:

      Wow! Thank you and of course!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. katnatt says:

    Beautiful. Brings memories of my girl who still calls me her best friend, who now has her own best friend for life. So quickly things move forward but don’t really change so much that you can’t see your baby girl under the mascara. Love you sweet Morgan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Morgan says:

      Love you sweet lady! So so so happy for you and yours!


  3. Jen Driggers says:

    I was hooked when I saw the name Tim McGraw on your “teaser” with the link to your post. I love him and his music. Your slice is beautiful. I love how you used the lyrics and intertwined them with your own words. You’ve inspired me to maybe try something like this with one of my slices later this month. Would that be ok?


    1. Morgan says:

      Of course! Thanks – there’s no higher compliment!


  4. Crissy says:

    I feel so much happier now I untndsraed all this. Thanks!


  5. rosecappelli says:

    I’m so glad Lisa left this link this morning since I missed it the first time around. It is just beautiful. I appreciate the structure you used interspersing the song lyrics, and the way you summed up everything in your final paragraph. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. djvichos says:

    I, too, am grateful for having an opportunity to read this creative and beautiful reflection on growing up. I appreciate how you simultaneously hold on to your daughter’s child-self and let go to embrace the new wonders of young adult. The integration of meaningful song lyrics is an amazing idea. I could see students enjoying the opportunity to do this exercise.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow! You are an amazing writer. I love the creativity, the precious details, and the structure. Being a mom of two daughters, I can really relate to this slice. I think I am going to try this type of slice for myself and with my students.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh, wow. Thanks for this. I love that song and will listen even more carefully to the lyrics next time I hear it. Your story is beautiful. They grow up in the blink of an eye.

    Liked by 1 person

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