When you think of a time capsule, the first thing that comes to many people’s minds is a high school project where you put in your favorite shirt, printed quote, or trinket. But truly the best example of this may just be the backseat of your mom’s car. Like most, my life began in a hospital where I was later taken home in the most protective car seat my parents could find. The entire ride my mom was looking back at the new person she had just brought into this world. My brother was most likely sitting next to me still wondering why they had wanted another child. At just one-day old, I never could have imagined how my mom’s backseat would hold nearly twenty-years of memories.

Like most kids, I had my fair share of temper tantrums. Anytime my parents took me anywhere as a baby, I would fall asleep instantly in my car seat until the minute we got home. As I grew older and my car seat got bigger, I noticed that I was in the back and my mom was in the front. On any long car ride, I would cry non-stop until my mom held my hand from the passenger seat. Eventually, car rides went from therapeutic techniques to get me to stop crying to first-day of school drop offs and playdates. Her backseat was always a safe space where I could debrief about my day or play eye spy.

As playdates turned to school dances, my mom never let me down even if it involved an 11 o’clock pick up (past her bed time). Anytime I was nervous for something, she would let me stay in the back for a few extra minutes listening to my favorite song before I had to leave. I could always count on her to pick me up if I was sick at school or having a bad day. Her car’s back seat always welcomed all my friends who loved the T.V. screens in the back of her soccer mom car almost as much as I did. She drove me to countless practices and sports games and was never late. I always breathed a sigh of relief climbing into her backseat because it meant more time with her.

Eventually, probably to her disappointment, my teenage years began and I had the very proud moment of moving to the front seat. My moment of pride in the front was followed by a glance backward at all the great memories I had there. Somehow, over half a decade of life had flown by. Although, even if I wasn’t in the backseat necessarily, my mom’s car continued as the time capsule of my life. Even though it felt like the blink of an eye, play dates turned into movie dates where she would drop me off, at least fifteen feet away, and definitely not say hi. In her new “hot mom car” she drove me to any makeup or hair appointment for every prom and patiently waited until I came back. As I learned how to drive, she was no longer my personal chauffeur. Even though I may not have initially admitted it, I missed our morning and after school debriefs about anything and everything. Driving around on my own gave me a new sense of adulthood that made me wonder where the past sixteen years had gone.

Some of the most important dates of your life start off in your mom’s backseat. From taking me home from the hospital to dropping me off at college, my mom’s backseat will forever be a place of adventure, memories, new beginnings, and life milestones. Even now, at nearly twenty years old and finishing up my freshman year, I can’t help but climb into the backseat of her car on the way home from the airport even when she offers me the front. Sometimes, time capsule are more than just school projects. They are the places that hold some of our greatest memories. Four wheels, three cars, and nearly twenty years later, I grew into the person I am today. They certainly don’t tell you that at the car dealership.