Sixteen Again… by JoAnn
Yesterday I received a call from my oldest daughter, Robin, who began the conversation with, “I’ve got myself in a pickle!” Knowing my precious Robin as I do, that could mean many things. Robin has been married for 17 years and is the mother to my three grandchildren. She has two daughters in high school, and a 5-year-old son with autism. They fill her life with every activity under the sun. She is a stay-at-home mom but also has a job she does from home, and successfully I might add. She is constantly on the go, go, go! And did I mention that my son-in-law is a hard-working tow boater by profession? That means he is working on the boat and unfortunately away from home for a month at a time. So, when she says she’s in a pickle, my brain spins.
In a voice that told me she was feeling stressed and embarrassed, Robin shared her plight. She ran out of gas in a town 30+ minutes away. She didn’t ask if I would help, but instead began listing the friends she had called who weren’t available. As a Mama, I knew she was hoping I would “offer” to help, which I quickly did. I instantly heard the relief in her voice, which made my heart swell. I could have chosen the Mama card and given her a parental lecture about not checking her gas gauge when she was so far from home in a rural area with no gas station nearby, but I gave her grace, as she had done for me so many times over the years when ole Mama’s car had broken down and she so graciously came to my rescue. Now that I think of it, all three of my daughters have come to my rescue many times over the years! I’m one blessed Mama. It was time for a payback.
Robin joyfully accepted my offer and proceeded to give me these instructions: I had to go to her house and retrieve her gas can from the garage, then go to the Exxon, fill said can (I chose 4 gallons as sufficient), put it in my trunk, and then drive the 30+ minutes to the town where she was stuck. She warned me that it was a curvy country road and that she was sitting in a church parking lot and I would need to search for her. Her exact words were, “I’m way out there, Mama!” I began to think that this repaying of a good deed was turning into quite a chore, but then I felt a smile come over my face, a chuckle in my heart.
As we ended our phone conversation, Robin says, “I feel like I’m 16 again and needing my Mama to rescue me.” And just like that, the memory of my little girl needing me came flooding back. I didn’t care if it took me hours, I was filled with joy to give my busy daughter a helping hand this day and make her load just a little lighter.
After I got properly dressed (yes, I was wearing the now popular “quarantine casual”), I checked things off the list. After retrieving the gas can, then filling it with the four gallons, I texted Robin that I was on my way. She was right; it was a long, winding country road. Thank goodness I had plenty of gas in my car. But it was a pretty day! The sun was shining, so I rolled my windows down and enjoyed every minute of that beautiful drive. I realized I had not been on this road before. It was gorgeous, with lovely homes and farms sprinkled about. Spring was showing off its green glory this day, and I felt very blessed that my daughter had led me on this journey.
I finally spotted Robin’s minivan perched on a hill in front of a large brick church, and the first words to come out of her mouth when I pulled up were those of apology, but I didn’t want her to apologize. I had enjoyed the drive and had received even more joy in helping her out. She quickly poured the four gallons of gas into her empty van’s tank and gave me a heartfelt â€œthank you.â€ After some pleasant chit chat and several I love yous, we went our separate ways once more.
When our children are grown, they have their own independent lives to live. They can go months, or even years, without needing our help. Especially with the minor things that make up everyday life, such as keeping a vehicle hydrated with gasoline. Sometimes our relationships with them may resemble that of friends more than parent and child. I can’t speak for every mother out there, but I know it warms my heart and soul when I can catch a glimpse of my younger child again making me feel needed in the most basic ways, just as they did back then. With that being said, it was good to see my 16-year-old Robin yesterday.