Saturday, April 12, 2008

Sometimes It takes Another's Perspective

A couple of months ago, I was helping my youngest son, Vincent, replace a door handle on his wife's car. As usual we get to just talking about things and the conversation turned to when he and his brother were small and we were broke all the time. For a short time after my divorce, I drove a 68 Firebird. Now before you get all excited, the car was a regular blues mobile. Every time I turned around, it was giving me the blues.

I knew nothing about cars at the time outside of it starts, it stops, it rolls down the road with all four wheels turning in the same general direction. I sold that car to a young man who I am sure turned it into a sweet ride. Then got myself a Pinto. Yep, that's what I said. When it started having problems, I was living on the west side of town away from family and friends who could readily help me out. The throttle kept sticking shut on it and was sometimes hard to start. I solved that problem by keeping a long machine screw with a wing nut threaded onto it in my glove box. When I couldn't get the car to start, I'd take off the air cleaner and prop that wing nut under the butterfly in the throttle and crank the car.

During the fix it project with my son, he told me that he used to think I was a wizard because I did that. As a boy, he thought I could fix anything. I was stunned. Until that moment, I had preferred to not dwell on those times. I remember thinking myself a failure as a mother for not being able to give my boys a better life. Whenever I drove out to the west side for years after that time, my stomach would knot up with the reminders of hard times.

My sons don't see it that way. They have a different perspective on it. When I hear them telling stories of their childhood, it's the funny stories they tell. They don't dwell on hard times, if they think of them as hard times at all. My son revealing that he thought I was a wizard, gives me something to feel proud off. Suddenly, I don't feel so much like a failure anymore. Now that's magic!

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