It's massive and we call it The Beast. It has a rearview mirror, but it's only function is to give me a glimpse of my kids strapped in behind me as we drive. We depend a lot on the side mirrors for maneuvering the large 12 seater.
For safety and convenience Ryan decided to give The Beast a second set of eyes, a back up camera.
You may think that means he took it to the shop and had a camera installed. You'd be wrong. So wrong.
There was a Saturday in the not so distant past when I went out to the driveway and saw the guts of our Beast. The dash was off and wires spilling out. I felt a flutter down in my tummy.
You may think that the flutter was of the romantic variety from seeing my guy being all handy and cute. You'd be wrong. So wrong. Guts make me queasy, even car innards.
I wondered if we would be able to shove all the guts back into the dash and get our Beast to a proper repair shop; without the help of a tow truck. A beastly, beastly tow truck.
I said nothing. The ups and downs of 14+ years of marriage has taught me something. Ryan could torch the van and we'd still come out on the other side. If he wanted to install the camera himself under the tutelage of YouTube alone, so be it. Just a nervous flutter to keep me on my toes.
By that evening, all the wiring was covered back over with dash. Where there was once only a simple stock radio, there was now a screen wired to a camera in the back.
In celebration, he would take us on a maiden voyage. A joy ride to show off his handy work and the promise of late night french fries. My favorite way to enjoy french fries.
The length of our driveway behind us appeared on the screen as we reversed down our long driveway. He was proud and I was happy for him and for us, and for our Beast.
Quite suddenly the camera shut off and a burning smell began to seep in through the vents. We were now blocking the middle of our street. He shut down the van, jumped out and popped the hood releasing a cloud of smoke. The smell of smoldering grew stronger and Riley yelled, "Volcano!" from somewhere in the back.
"Get the kids out!" Ryan shouted over his shoulder as he ran inexplicably away from our angry Beast and back toward the house. He was running...AWAY!
Panic rose up in me. "Get out!" I began screaming. All but one of my littles can get themselves unbelted but in this frantic state their pudgy fingers couldn't release the snaps. I am pulling them out as Ryan is returning with a bag of tools to disconnect 'this' from 'that' to stop the burning. Thankfully, for him (and us) he didn't actually abandon us. There were no flames but wires were being damaged and he needed to make it stop.
I take the kids back into the house not asking any questions. Just saying, "You got this."
The kids don't yet know not to ask daddy questions when his project catches on fire.
"Were we on fire?!" "How did we become a volcano?" "Is our van parked in the road?" "Are we still having french fries?"
He doesn't answer the rapid fire curiosity a little misplaced smoke can spark. He just keeps fixing.
In the fourth grade I remember a project of describing fruit. It was a booklet and each page a different fruit.
My teacher said, "You're a writer, kid."
All I remember of fourth grade was that assignment, those words from my teacher, and that it was my favorite grade in elementary school.
In kindergarten I had decided to become a teacher. In fourth grade I learned that as a teacher, you could use your words to call out in others who they are. Words matter. I never forgot that she called me a writer and I believed her.
I have been writing a blog on various platforms for over 10 years. Before that, I was still writing but the medium was different.
Aside from a couple of scholarships and perhaps a little change here or there on other projects, I don't get paid to write.
I have no trouble at all calling myself a teacher. I am credentialed and have received numerous paychecks in that endeavor. I surly am a teacher.
But, guess what. I have stepped away from teaching for a season to be a stay-at-home-mom, and although I don't get paid, I'm still a teacher.
I don't get paid to write yet I still do it. I'm going to go ahead and call it, I'm a writer. Remember, by virtue of being a teacher, I have the power to call things out.
Ok, ok, the powerful use of words isn't only a gifting for teachers. We can all harness the power behind them. And by harness, I do mean choose when and how to use them. To benefit or harm.
When I saw the spilled guts of our Beast on the driveway, I could have pleaded with Ryan to take our van to the repair shop, casting doubt in his mind.
When The Beast began breathing fire in response to the new wiring I could have spoken discouraging words over my husband and the project. I could have let the fear of losing or damaging our most important vehicle cause me to make declarations that may have shaken my husband's resolve to solve the problem.
But just as The Beast was learning to see through new eyes, so was I.
There was a time when I would have spewed my fear and irritation all over a situation like that. Set fire. Beg him to just take the car to the repair shop for the love of all that is good and well.
No doubt, Ryan knew I was worried. He was too, I'm sure. Worry is a natural response to smoke coming from under the hood.
But I decided not to say it. When I grasped that this project was one he wanted to see through himself, I tried to only say encouraging truth. "You got this." "I'm sure you will figure it out."
He did' have it' and he would 'figure it out.' See, that would be true whether he ended up taking it to the repair shop or not. Because of Ryan, we would have a working vehicle with a backup camera, either way. I could trust in Ryan's process to get us there, even if I was nervous, and I was nervous.
In the end, we do have a beast of a van with a second set of eyes in the back all via the handiwork of my guy, YouTube, and my mastery of AmazonPrime.
I'm proud of him and that's all I have to say.
*I read 12 books in 2016 and have a goal of 24 for 2017.*
I am keeping a running book list. I have no interest in rating or endorsing these books on here but feel free to ask me about them if you are curious. It's just a list of fact. Fact being I finished the book. I only finish books if I want to, so take from that what you will. Below, I'll also include what I am currently reading with no promise of ever finishing.
Books Read in 2017:
Hope Heals by Catherine Wolf
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
Grace for the Good Girl: Letting Go of the Try-Hard Life by Emily P. Freeman
In the Shadow of Lakecrest by Elizabeth Blackwell
Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave
The Broken Way: A Daring Path into the Abundant Life by Ann Voskamp
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