Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Car Connections

A week ago today, my geese and I got into the Suburban to head to school like we do every morning.  Upon turning the key in the ignition, I came to the realization and horror that my vehicle was not responding to this command.  In fact, it was ignoring it completely. There was no response…no guttural utterance, no choking, no sound…nothing. This vehicle had begun to give us fits about 3 months ago, and things just seemed to be getting worse.  I gasped out loud, and quickly grabbed my cell phone as I glanced at the clock.  Great, I thought…12 minutes until the babies are late to school.  Without even thinking, I began to dial the phone number of the one person in the world that has consistently rescued me from any possible car woe that has come my way. 

My daddy. 

Upon dialing the 4th number in the sequence, my heart sank and the tears emerged.  Claire looked at me sweetly as I brushed the wetness from my face.  A couple of phone calls later, and the kids off to school, I sat on my couch with a cup of coffee and began writing the plan…  the plan for my pity party that was inevitable and imminent.  You see, my daddy was the one that showed up with a (new to me) car on my 16th birthday just in time for me to drive to my first Winter Formal.  He was the one that took the day off from work and took me car shopping on my 18th birthday, as we celebrated my acceptance into the college of my choice.  He was the one that sat me down and explained how to purchase insurance, why it’s important, and how much it cost.  He loved cars, even going as far as owning his own 1968 Camaro where he dabbled in the sport of drag racing.  He changed my oil every 3,000 miles like clock-work, he rotated my tires, and he was the first one I called at the first sign of problems. He made me feel protected and when I married Cody, he continued to do such.  Cody embraced this safety net, and developed his own dependence on Dad’s knowledge.  He shared this knowledge with Cody, and they did their own bonding under the hood of many vehicles. 

I have inherited his love of cars, and am constantly looking at the make, model, and features of new ones as they roll off of the assembly line. I am limited right now in my choices, due to the gaggle of geese I tote around to every dance rehearsal and soccer practice in Small Town America.  But one fact remains: I have never, ever purchased a vehicle that he was not a vital part of the process. He was always my road trip traveler in the past when I have trapessed across Texas in search of a “mommy-mobile” suitable for this tribe.  He was always full of advice, full of opinions, and full of banter about whether or not I was getting a good enough “deal”. 

I knew that it was time to begin looking for a different car, and I knew that this was just going to be one more “first” to add to the list of “First ____ without Dad”.  It’s been a full year of those, and I am beginning to glimpse the finish line as we quickly approach the anniversary of his passing at the end of this month…Thanksgiving Day, to be exact.  I got online and began looking, and two days later, found myself travelling…alone…to a nearby city to obtain a new car. 

And I bawled the entire way there. 

But after pulling myself together, blowing my nose, and putting on some lipstick, I got to thinking:  Seriously? Are you really this sappy? It’s a car, for crying out loud! Get it together! But it did get me to pondering my relationship with my own babies.  What will they remember about me? What will they grieve for when they do it for the first time, alone? What will be the one thing that makes them feel like an “official grown-up” when I am no longer around to share in the experience? My daddy probably had no idea that I paired this experience with him in such tangible, heartfelt ways…I honestly didn’t even know myself.  Of course you expect the “big” ones to be painful…holidays, anniversaries, etc.  But it’s truly the little things that make an imprint on the hearts of the ones you love the most that will stay with them for an eternity. 

What “little things” am I imprinting on the hearts of my baby geese today? I have to stop and ask myself this question as life carries on. When it’s easier to just cook dinner myself, I have to pause and remember that my girls are going to someday be deemed responsible for providing meals to their own families.  I need to expose them to this skill, which requires timeand taking the time to do it, requires intention.  Am I being intentional in the opportunities I provide my children each day to learn things about life that only their mama can teach them?

The good news is that I did not bawl all the way home from the car dealership that day.  I walked away feeling good. Feeling empowered. Feeling confident.  I’d say he did his job, and did it well. 

And yes, Daddy…I got a good deal. 



  1. Oh, bless you, sweet friend. It is indeed the little things in life that count. I'm so glad you are almost to that one-year anniversary. Not because everything will be "all better" at that point, but because you can at least have the confidence of knowing, "I survived it once (whatever that particular "it" might be), and so surely I can survive it again." You will be in my thoughts as you celebrate all the reasons to be thankful for the life of your sweet daddy.

  2. Oh that is so sweet of you! :) I am pretty sure any Auto Dealer In Texas would be so proud to do business with you :)

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