My oldest took off in my Caravan today to go down to Michigan State, where she has been invited to test for the Alumni Scholarship. Top prize is a four year full ride, they give out five of them, I think.
I worried my whole shift, not sure if I was worrying about the test or about whether she would remember to check to tire pressure. This is the kid who, just last week, was supposed to meet me after school at 3:10 for a closely choreographed routine where I would drop the kids off at piano lessons on my way to work at 4:00. At 3:15 she still hasn't shown up and it turns out she is in the cafeteria giving blood, squeezing the little ball in an effort to get the blood out faster so she could get on to the piano lesson, forget about resting with cookies and juice. So maybe she'll earn a full ride this weekend, or maybe she'll get so busy she'll forget why she went there.
I was imagining everything that could go wrong on the road and I remembered when I taught Shelagh and Liz to change a tire. They were 15 and 14, maybe, when we had a tire go flat on the way to the laundry mat. We pulled into the beach access at Bingham Road. I told them how to change the tire, but made them do the actual job themselves. The whole time they worked Anna (age 5 at the time) kept saying "Don't worry, a man will stop and help you!" It was snowy, but they used the dirty towels from the laundry basket so they didn't have to kneel on the ground. By the time they finished we didn't have enough time to go to the laundry mat, so we headed home. Anna was quiet for a few miles, then she sighed bitterly "I can't believe that a man didn't stop to help us."