Slow down and check your rearview.


We have a very narrow driveway. It’s sandwiched between a curb and a low stone wall that has left long scratches on the right side of every car we’ve owned since we’ve move into this house. I’ve found that if I focus just on the left side car mirror, I can follow the length of the driveway without harm. I’ve managed to avoid any damage for months – until yesterday.

Yesterday was my birthday. It started with a gentle birthday kiss on my cheek and a playful lick of my toes (Dan cheek/Finn toes). The morning continued with it’s perfection as we got the kids up and out, I ate my birthday breakfast and took a long walk with the dogs. I then got to sit down on the sofa to sort through piles of birthday wishes via text, phone and Facebook. I was feeling quite loved and very calm.

It wasn’t until I glanced at the time and realized that I was late for a meeting, that reality spilled back. What time was I supposed to be there? What time is that dinner thing tonight? Oh no – do I have anything to wear for that? Did Maria say she could be here by 6? Yikes, my folks called again – how did I miss that?

I threw on a coat and raced to the car. As I got in the driver-side, I was hitting the voicemail button on my phone wanting to hear my parents message. The Grateful Dead was blaring, my mother’s voice was wishing me a happy birthday and I was focusing on that left side mirror so that I could get to out of the driveway and to my appointment without being late.

I’m not sure what happened next. Maybe it was seeing a person waving their arms outside the passenger side window or maybe it was the loud “you’re too close” sound our car makes or maybe it was just the loud bang as I plowed into my friend’s car. My dear friend, Jen, had come by to surprise me with a birthday gift. I was so wrapped up in my crazy that I hadn’t noticed the giant SUV parked at the end of the driveway. I had been so overwhelmed with plans and meetings and stuff that I had forgotten to look around me.

Sometimes I feel very on top of things. Proud of the way I maneuver through a rather complicated life. I manage to have a fridge full of food and warm meals for my family. I teach some art classes at the local schools and write every day. But, sometimes I get a little distracted by my list of to dos that I forget to look around and notice the people around me.

Every year I write a list of goals I hope to achieve before my next birthday. This year at the top of that list is to remember to stop and look around before hitting the gas. I don’t want to miss special moments with special people AND I don’t want to damage any more cars.

Love, Jess
When I finally opened the box that Jen had delivered, It was delighted to see it was filled with 45 lottery tickets. I called to thank her and told her I hoped that I would win enough cash to pay for our cars to be fixed.

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