The wrecker just drove away, and there’s a lump in my throat.
It was a ’98 gold Chrysler Sebring convertible. I remember the day my 18-year-old son brought it home, beaming from ear to ear. Of course, the top was down, and his hair was tousled from the drive home.
“What do you think, Mom?”
I saw the excitement in his eyes. In my mind’s eye, I saw him zipping about the valley, impressing friends and charming girls. I knew the speedometer would rarely read what I would hope it would.
I gave him all the prohibitive motherly counsel I could come up with: convertibles are more expensive to insure; they’re more dangerous in an accident; there are potential problems with the roof mechanisms; and think of the gas mileage!
“Oh, Mom – get in! I’ll take you for a spin.”
It WAS fun. I enjoyed the wind in my hair, and his enthusiasm was catching. We whirled around the neighborhood and came to a stop in our circular driveway.
“Well?” He looked at me with expectant eyes.
“But honey, you could get a car with much better gas mileage for the same price – probably even less.”
His eyes dropped.
“Mom, I think it’s a good car. I’ll take it to the mechanic and have him give me his advice. What do you say?”
I had to agree. It was his money, his decision, really. I always wanted to keep my children safe, to help them make the wisest decisions, and as a result my counsel was always full of caution, reminders, and caveats. Looking back, and knowing that he would get the car no matter what I said, I wish I’d just said, “You’ll love it! Go for it!”
He DID love it. He poured money into that car constantly, adding a new sound system that I could hear as soon as he turned onto our street, new speakers, and anything it took to make it ‘just perfect’.
His plan was to fix it up, use it until he left on his two-year mission, and then sell it to help pay for the mission.
Two weeks before the mission, he hit a deep dip in the road on the way home, and didn’t realize it had punctured the oil pan. The next day he went out, hopped into his car, and drove off – and not very far down the road, the engine seized up.
Mechanic’s estimate: $3200.
The car had only cost $3000.
So, he was out a car – and the savings for his mission.
He was one dejected young man.
He left on his mission, and we arranged for a wrecker to come take the car to sell it for parts. As the mechanic loaded up the car, I stood in the driveway and couldn’t stop the tears. I recalled so many times reminding my son, “Remember our deal? When you turn onto our street, the volume has to go down!” (I didn’t want all my neighbors to have to hear (more accurately, to feel) the bass speakers as he sailed past their homes.) Or I remembered seeing him and his friends out in the driveway installing yet another improvement in the car.
I remembered a couple of times late at night when he’d come home, discouraged about a friend or event, and say, “Mom, can we go for a drive?”
I loved those times. He would take me around the car and open my door, let me in, get in the car, and then drive slowly in silence, gathering his words. Finally, he would start talking, and we’d have one of those rare conversations where two souls open up and really share.
Watching the tow truck drive away was like another door of my life closing, and I had to weep. I have learned to let the tears fall at times like that – to let all the sorrow flood out. When it was over, I turned my thoughts to the future. He will be back. He will find another car. We will be together again and have those late-night talks.
So even though there is a lump in my throat with this door closing, I have the memories. I will learn the lessons from the sad ones, and cherish the good ones. And I will move forward with hope.
To the future,