So here’s what happened: My dad took the six of us to the Rockies game where we saw the home team beat the Seattle Mariners 6-3, which was great. Also great that our kids sat through the entire 90 degree game without squirming. Plus, we successfully scrambled for two baseballs thrown into the stands. (We gave away one.)
Unfortunately, shortly after that, as we climbed back into the mountains on our way to my parents’ house, our hybrid SUV lost power. At the wheel, my dad maneuvered the car to the right shoulder as quickly as he could, but the tail end (with the third row of seats and two small children on it) was still out in traffic. A monsoon-like downpour and thunderstorm had commenced about fifteen minutes prior to this. AAA couldn’t locate us via GPS. I tried calling them first. 9-1-1 is only for real emergencies, right?
“Eh, we need the rain,” he said pleasantly, before instructing us to make our way to the next exit. He would escort us there in case of further breakdown.
Once we made it off the highway and to a little gravel parking lot where we could regroup (along with a slew of other cars taking a break from the rockslides and standing road water), we called my mom and told her we’d be a little late for tacos.
Then we prayed the whole way home while we kept the kids quiet with Goldfish and an audiobook.
The thing is, on our first trip up the mountain two weeks earlier, our (non-hybrid) SUV’s brake rotors overheated, resulting in violent shaking of the entire car for the final two hours of our seventeen hour road trip from the Chicago area. I prayed the whole way with that one too.
So today, I reflect and realize I want to say thank you to the mechanics and the police officer and 9-1-1 dispatch who all worked to get us back on the road. We had to get home. We had another person waiting for us.
Earlier this summer, as part of an in-class writing exercise, my instructor gave us this prompt:
In our house, dinner was always…
I was stumped at first, but the answer was so obvious. Of course, I needed to thank my mom for dinner. When we finally made it home after the Rockies game, tacos were warmed and on the table. Before that, growing up, it looked a little like this:
“In our house, dinner was always when my mom said it was. Mostly, that meant after the Cosby Show, and after we washed our hands. Home cooked, well-rounded, a varied meal every time, and I had no idea how hard my mom worked to plan that for us until one time when I complained about the dish, and she punished me by making me write the menu for the next week.
I couldn’t think of one meal. I must have been around eleven. How many meals had she served me by that point in my life, and I couldn’t name one under the pressure of “Do this.”
So I developed an appreciation for the meals served, meals that sometimes were hard to chew (like steak) or sometimes were a mess but delicious (like chicken bombs) or that sometimes were served in front of the TV like on SuperBowl Sunday when she cooked nachos. It was always a good meal, always on my mom’s timing, whether my dad made it home from work on time or not. And actually, I got to where I didn’t mind if he was late because if he came home early and saw the Cosby Show, he might hear something inappropriate and ruin it for us by asking, “What are you watching?”
I have made a menu for my family every week for the past sixteen years. I thank my mom for that. It’s dinner. You don’t skip it. You have it when it’s time.”
She also does dessert. In the days following our adventure at the Rockies’ game, she baked dozens of cookies for the kids’ to decorate as part of our Christmas in July celebration.
And so life continues on, as I prayed every mile up the mountain, “just a little bit farther,” and with much help from those who continue to support our team.
Here you will find a catalog of my writing and reflections.