Even in the midst of pounding my fists into the soft interior of my parents Mercury Marquis I couldn’t help but picture myself about twenty years younger. There was definitely a size difference, but the outburst I was having was roughly equivalent to little Jewel kicking and screaming over not getting to stay up with the big people to watch the movie. What just happened? How did all of my tact, restraint, and maturity just fly out the window? “I was not exaggerating! I’m serious! It broke down and it was scary and I don’t want to be in that position again!!” The words flew out of my mouth and I swear that sane Jewel was watching this tantrum from a distance and shaking her head in wonder. When was the last time I blew up like this? I couldn’t even remember.
My dad was sitting in the back seat and I’m sure if I had looked back I would have seen a startled expression. Or maybe even him rolling his eyes. “Ok ok. I’m sorry.” He said as I fired up the engine and rolled the car out of the autoshop parking lot. The funny thing was I wasn’t really furious or worked up…I think I had finally just added a physical expression just to prove to him that his jokes had hit a nerve.
It was Thursday and we had just brought my truck to the shop. My “new” truck. My shiny red Dodgy had already started to have clutch problems earlier this week, and I think there was more disappointment driving my emotions right now than anger. I had known when I bought it that the clutch was the one thing that might need work, so it wasn’t a surprise. Still, after only driving it for 3 days, it nearly broke my heart to leave it at my friend’s house Tuesday night while we figured out the best place to take it. As he had driven me home that night I sighed longingly. “It’s not that I’m worried. I trust God knows and will work this out. But…I already miss him!” He laughed at me as I sighed again with big puppy dog eyes (or maybe like that annoying little lemur in Madagascar), “Is this what it’s like to have a child?!” I asked, and we both laughed.
Now, as my parents and I were pulling away from the shop (that had said they would fix it for a great price), I felt the same sadness of leaving him behind. But the thing that had set me off was my dad’s interpretation of the clutch situation. He had driven it from my friend’s house to the shop and hadn’t felt the same problem that I had Tuesday night. On Tuesday the clutch had overheated and it wouldn’t shift at all. (It’s awful hearing the truck you love whiz and groan as if trying to follow out your order but hurting himself in the effort.) My dad had joked about me making it out to be worse than it was, and that it was probably just me not driving it right. Somewhere inside I knew he was joking, and I can usually take a joke. But like everyone else in the world, I have certain sensitive points. For some reason I’m sensitive to the implication that I am incompetent or that I am falling prey to a “typical female” reaction or motive. I know how to drive a stick! I’m not exaggerating just cuz I’m a girl and that’s what girls do! And I don’t manipulate men into buying me things! (that last one has nothing to with the current situation). My truck really had a problem Tuesday night whether you felt it or not!
Thankfully, I am aware of these sensitivities, so I quickly apologized for my outburst. I knew deep down dad didn’t disbelieve that there was something that needed to get fixed, because he had brought the truck to the shop. When I vocalized the reason for my unusual reaction he apologized as well, “I’m sorry. I didn’t know that was an area you were sensitive about.” And it was dispelled as quickly as that. Actually probably quicker, because as soon as I’d had my little tantrum I felt completely ridiculous and immediately calmed back down into sane land.
We went home and had spaghetti and the night ended much better. My parents were here until Sunday night, and there were other moments of annoyance and frustration. But mostly, there was fun, smiles, relaxation and laughter. They are driving back up to Washington now, and since I waved goodbye to those two beloved faces I’ve been thinking about how blessed I am to have such wonderful parents.
The holiday’s are coming up, and I’m looking forward to heading up to Washington for Christmas, but I’m going to make sure I have a different perspective when I go. I want to cherish every memory, remembering that each moment is a gift. You never know how long you will have your family and the people you love in your life. This may be a sad thought, but hopefully it will help you see past those things that annoy you, or make you blow up. The next time he gives you directions even though this is your city and you know where you’re going, smile…because someday you’ll miss that. The next time you are waiting an extra 5min as she gathers the stuff she needs from the car before you go in to the restaurant, smile…because someday you’ll miss that. The next time she starts pounding the soft grey interior of your Mercury Marquis like a crazy woman, smile…because someday you’ll miss that. The very thing that gets under your skin now, will be the thing you will miss when the one you love is gone. Don’t let a moment slip by this holiday season, don’t let petty annoyances poison memories in the making, and don’t forget to tell them you love them and hold them in your arms while they are still within your reach. Because someday…you’ll miss that.