The amazing ride
Dear readers – I am so sorry my posts are infrequent these days. Our family is in the process of remodeling our upstairs. Serving as contractors and work crew between school, church, and work, our progress resembles the tortoise racing the hare – slow and steady. As usual, I have a few blogs that I have been pondering and feel I am ready to tell their stories. Just know that I miss sharing my world with you all. Kandy
Nostalgia, like a comfortable pair of old shoes, is both a gift and a burden I seem to be wearing often these days. Perhaps this sentiment stems from all the transition my family is experiencing: back-to-school, home remodel, and preparation for our son’s senior year of high school. I am fighting back tears as I type those last words. Oh my goodness, my once chubby-cheeked, curly-haired boy is ready to launch. My launch pad locked in old memories isn’t quite ready for the countdown from mission control. Memories, sweet memories, are present at every turn.
Add to all of this, Boy Wonder and I visited with my high school best friend on a recent trip to my childhood hometown. While we were downing chili slaw dogs at The Varsity in Atlanta, we laughed and giggled about our adventures while growing up in Pensacola. I believe Sawyer was amazed to hear I never picked a prom dress without M being present. He was best friend, my best confidante, and a gentleman of great taste. I am so glad that God has allowed us to reconnect all these years later.
As I grow older (and thus so do my children), stark differences between our childhoods really stand out. This became more obvious as M and I swapped tales over the table. One of those dichotomous details was the prom experience. Back in the day, our prom was typically held at some posh location (country club or beach front hotel), and other than a few chaperones, our parents were nowhere to be found. Not so, for my son. The tradition at our children’s school is to bring bleachers around to the front door of the high school; so that every parent, grandparent, neighbor, friend, family, and school mate can gather around the red carpet (yes there really is one) to watch the young couples arrive for the prom. Remember these young people are the greatest product we produce, out here. Later everyone relocates to the bedecked and resplendent gymnasium to watch the couples promenade for the onlookers. The drive-up portion was utterly and completely foreign to me.
Talk about grand entrance! The pressure to be larger-than-life is palpable. There are classic cars, muscle cars, tractors (c’mon y’all it is rural Minnesota), and jacked up pick-up trucks. The first prom was an easier entrance because there are very few vehicles that Sawyer and Rachel’s special guest, Brayden, could utilize for “stylin’ wheels”. Trust me, full size RV made a statement, but their love for one of Reed’s friends was an even bigger statement.
For last spring’s gala, we were really perplexed as to how to make an entrance. (Listen: I am fully aware of this being a first world problem. So is my son. His solution was to wash and wax his dad’s pick-up and be fine with that.) That was the plan until an e-mail changed the night.
A friend of ours pointed out a super cool car that was for sale on a local garage sale site. While I would have loved to have been able to purchase said car, it just wasn’t in the cards with the years we have saved to complete this remodel. Dream kitchen versus one night’s ride! Clearly, the kitchen won out. But I have learned that if there is something you desire, you simply garner the courage to ask. The worst that can happen is for you to be told no.
“Be brave! Be bold!” became my motto as I sent a message to the owner of the car (oh which happens to be a classic Corvette). Then I waited. And waited. And waited. Then one day, as I was walking into a spring AAU basketball tournament, I got the call I hoped for, but had no guarantees I would receive. Let me tell you what transpired next left me astounded!
My wait was due to the fact that the gentle spirit and owner of the car, J, had a hard time getting a hold of me. In my original message, I explained who our family is and about how we knew mutual friends. I explained Sawyer’s story, and I also stressed how safe a driver he is because of all he has gone through. My concerns were halted when J said, “You are never going to believe this”. His “unbelievable” story was his rig (as a semi driver) was one of the first to come across the crash that changed our lives forever. He had always wanted to do something for our family, and imagine his shock when he received my request, crazy as it was!
Yes, friends, it takes a special kind of crazy bold, to send a message to a stranger asking, “Hey! Could my 17-year-old son borrow your classic ‘Vette to go the prom?” Proudly, I am that kind of eccentric.
Almost without taking a breath, but yet taking a break from being choked up, J explained that not only would the Boy Wonder be able to drive his car to the prom, but also he could drive it for the week to get the feel for driving it. J was going to add him to his personal insurance if needed and have it taken in to get a tune up. His only request in return was for my boy to have a good time and send him a few pics.
His words were met with stunned silence as the tears ran down my face and the lump formed in my throat. I am not too proud to tell you I bawled outside that gymnasium, to which I tell you there were more than a few barbed looks tossed my way along the lines of “Lady, it is just a basketball game.” Normally barbs of such insensitivity would sting. Not today, my friends. Not today! My heart soared because Sawyer is tough to surprise, but more so, the kindness of strangers is awe-inspiring.
Our clandestine rendezvous to procure the dreamy wheels went without a hitch as did the lesson on how to remove and store the T-tops. The twenty mile drive back to our house gave me a chance to live out a high school fantasy as I drove through the countryside, turning heads. This ride was a far cry from the Dodge Omni I drove my junior year. His face was absolutely priceless when his sisters (who were in on the secret) brought him outside. He couldn’t believe someone would do something this kind for him. My boy, almost a man, was genuinely humbled. He couldn’t believe it!
I have been asked many times if I railed at God during our darkest hour. I am no saint, definitely far from perfect, but I can honestly answer that I never did. Questioning how long this pain would endure happened, but anger never came. From dear friends who were with us moments after to new friends (angels on earth) who make the junior prom a night to remember, there have been constant reminders of God’s love every step of the way. So maybe some of that nostalgia I’ve been feeling is a gentle reminder that God has been present in every leg of my life’s journey, including the steps that led me to one sweet ride.