The day started out happily enough. It was the day before Thanksgiving week, which meant that the next week was a two day work week, so we decided to celebrate our Friday morning with some chocolate doughnuts. I pulled our car into Shipley’s and rolled down my window. My driver’s side window had been acting wonky for awhile. I keep saying I can see the light at the end of the tunnel with our car being paid off, and our car knows it, so the window had been doing some crazy, car possessed, car that knows I don’t want to invest more money into it, stuff. Cole got his doughnuts and off we went, and my car window disagreed…..it went up, it went down, and it pulled down the window lining (I am sure there’s a technical term for that rubber lining, don’t judge me). I took some deep breaths and pulled over, committed to not allowing this inanimate object ruin our Friday chocolate doughnut happiness, only to have the window be permanently stuck halfway down, lining hanging down. So of course I did what any reasonable, high strung, single mama working hard to pay all of those bills by myself would do, I cried….hard. I did exactly what I caution other mamas not to do, “Do not put adult stressors onto your children”. Cole silently sat in the back, eyes wide, eating his doughnuts (because if your mama is losing it, you are probably going to need your strength, you should probably eat your doughnuts). I got the name of a place to take my car, after calling my old faithful mechanic, who was busy until after Thanksgiving, and actually weighed the options of leaving my window down until then, and decided against it. After I calmed down, I snapped back to my rational brain, and told Cole I would figure it out, I promise. I heard a little voice say “I know you will, Mama. You always do”. That made me take a deep deep breath, knowing that my child always believes in me, even when I am in a stupid crazy panic.
I took my car to Lenney’s on Lawrence (my new besties, I am gonna invite those people to Christmas dinner, they are gems), and a very calm Lenney Rush said to me in a dad voice, “I am pretty sure I can take care of you”. I sat myself down on their squishy couch and Lenney’s wife, Jimmi, talked to me like I was a rational person. She couldn’t have known I had just wailed in my car driving my child to school. She talked to me about my job, and about how blessed I was to have that job, where people trusted me with their children. She was so very right. It was my car window (and my battery), not my motor. It was easily fixed (not by me, of course), and I was on my way within an hour. In the grand scheme of my life, this was minor and could be fixed. We know so many who have big big problems that simply cannot be remedied in an hour, sadly.
It’s funny that I happened upon such malady that morning, as Cole and I are doing the Bucket Filler Challenge this month, with a different challenge each day, on how to fill someone else’s bucket. When Cole was a student at Central, his counselor, Ms. Toy, gave each of them a sheet with a list of ways to be a Bucket Filler, and we have kept it on our fridge as a reminder. We decided (actually me, my attitude has been pretty cranky) to take that challenge and do one per day, in a ramp up to our 25 days of kindness in December. Mrs. Rush could not have known that morning that she was filling up my empty bucket. She could not have known that I needed to snap back to reality and take a minute to breathe, and be thankful for all of my blessings. God had a plan to get me there to that mechanic’s shop that day, as of course my battery was the original battery in my car, and looked pretty wretched too, and was trying hard not to start my car each morning.
Being a bucket filler doesn’t always mean buying things for people, it usually means being kind to others, forgiving them, thanking them, taking responsibility for the things you say and do that might hurt other people. Sometimes I even caution Cole to simply “do not get on people’s nerves”, such a good rule for life, really. If you model kindness and encouraging others for your children, they learn such valuable lessons about how to treat people, how to lift them up, instead of tearing them down. This does not go to say that my child does not behave like a gremlin from time to time, because he saves it allllll for his mama at home. Try that Bucket Filler Challenge with your kids, friends or coworkers and I promise you will begin to train your brain to see the good in other people, and other situations, even when you really do not want to at all.