Friday, February 24, 2012

Time for Inner Changes

They've already happened, apparently when I wasn't paying attention. And where do I begin? Let's start with a dead car battery...., I was making my daily endrun to get the boys with an added stop; pick up soft pretzels for the evening's Pack meeting. I did that first, then went to get the boys. Nic's pick up was uneventful; G's was until we got to the car. And the damn thing wouldn't start.

Nic immediately flew into dramatic overdrive. "MOM! WHAT WILL WE DO?"

I can't fault him; once, that would have been me.

I pulled out my work BB (my cell phone is officially dead from being dropped one too many times, and yes, I'll deal with that, eventually) and call hubby, and tell him to call AAA (after all, that's why we have it, right?) He says he'll be there as soon as he can.

Which would be at least 40 minutes. I knew it was getting on 6; we needed to be at the pack meeting before 7.

"Why don't you guys go over to look at the monster truck parked over there?" I had gotten out of the van, fumbled around for the hood release. The kids, however, lingered to see what I would do. I went around the back and pulled out the jumper cables, thinking MAYBE some one would stop. I see the pretzels in the back and wonder if they are going to get where they need to go.

Three cars passed. All the drivers looked the other way. The boys, seeing I wasn't going to do anything else for the moment, wandered off to the truck, arguing. Some one pulled over and parked to talk on her phone.

Which gave me an idea. I reached for my BB again, and this time dialed the cub master. "I have good news and bad news," I began. "The good news is that I got the pretzels. The bad news is that we're stuck over in the school parking lot."

Did he laugh? Probably later. "I'll be over as soon as I can."

Which was all the time it took to put on his shoes and drive over. By that time, the woman who had pulled over had driven her car over to mine. Two girls and a set of jumper cables with nary a clue between them about where to start: this is probably where S started laughing.

My boys ran back over. "Mr. R, Mr. R, what are you doing here?"

Giving mom an advanced tutorial. "First thing we do," he announced, "Is untangle the cables."

Yeah. Duh. Sorry.

"Kids, step back, this may blow up." And without missing a beat, he hooked up my car to my other good samaritan's (and cleared the trap of old leaves) and signaled me to start up.

"It died!" Nic wailed disconsolately.

"Nah, it didn't die, it's just tired," he answered.

I turned the key, and the engine roared to life, as did the stereo, which blared "Alone Again (Naturally)" I smothered a laugh at the irony. The kids cheered. S unhooked the cables and handed them back to me. "They're yours? Wow, prepared."

I handed off the pretzels. "This way, I know they'll get where they need to go. And thanks."

I called hubby back and told him to cancel the service call. The kids piled back into the van, and everyone went their separate ways. And I laughed.

"Mom, what's so funny?" Nic asked.

"You guys got to see what friendship looks like in action." And I didn't realize how true this was until I said it. "We had a problem, I asked for help, and I got it. A friend will help you, even if it puts him or her out."

Actually, my thought had been about the pretzels, and the last thing I wanted S to think was that I punted. And of course I knew that he would know what to do with jumper cables.

All this happens against the backdrop of conversations I've had with a colleague over the last few weeks, some one who wants me to look at things another way, to stop thinking 'either/or' and replace it with 'both/and'. In a somewhat related story, I've been thinking a lot of making better use of the gifts I've been given. Yesterday, I was tapped to give a couple guest lectures at a local university--something I had stopped doing for the wrong reasons.

Guess what? I'm back on the circuit. Thanks to another hero.

The larger story is that I'm finding blessings and opportunities in all the things that most people have come to regard as inconvenience (at best) and disaster (at worst). I know there are hundreds of inspirational quotes out there that urge you to think this way, but a vast majority of us really don't; we SAY it, hoping we get to a point where we may actually mean it.

But no. I realized in my drive home that I'm there. I'm really, really there.

And grateful, as always, for the people who show me the way. And remind me.

It's good not to be alone.

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