A few years ago, one night, I was with my kids in my car when I had an engine problem, or at least I thought I had a problem.
I had to pick up my oldest son after his theater class. I had left my two other kids in the car for a quick run from the parking lot to the theater. It was raining and they were listening to music. Although they were still young, the neighborhood was safe, nothing to worry about. I picked up my son a couple of minutes later, his brothers still nicely waiting for us. When I tried to start the car, nothing happened. I tried several times, but the engine stayed quiet. My kids were starting asking questions I wasn’t ready to answer yet:
– What is going on?
– When are we going home?
– What are we eating for supper?
I was about to scream. I was far from home, in a new country with rusty English, my husband away on a business trip, and my kids in the back were dying of hunger in a car that refused to start. To make it better, the night was falling, and it was almost dark outside.
I turned to look at them and with what I hoped was a reassuring smile said:
– I don’t know what’s happening. The engine won’t start, but I am going to find a solution.
They looked at me and I could tell they were starting to get nervous. The only thing I was sure about at that point was that kids learn more by watching what their parents are doing than listening to what they are saying.
I reached for the car’s manual in the glove compartment and triumphantly showed it to them.
– Don’t worry kids, when you don’t know what to do, you always find help in a book.
I know, it doesn’t sound like the best thing to do to solve an engine problem, but I have always found a lot of comfort in books. The kids were watching me, so I continued to pretend I knew what I was doing. A Don’t Panic light panel was flashing in my head.
As I turned some pages, I checked for all the lights and looked for the Read me if you don’t know what to do pages, my favorite.
The manual was going through the basic steps.
How to start your engine.
- Insert the key into the ignition
- Rotate the key, past two notches and push on the third and final notch to start the engine.
- Release the key
Oh no! I was in my Brain on a vacation on the West Coast mode. Because I have left the key on notch 1 to let the kids listen to the music, I couldn’t go directly on 3. I had to go back to 0 and then go to 3 by doing the same move I had done thousands of times. This one was going to be a good laugh for my husband, and a new embarrassment for me.
I tried and the engine purred like a big cat. The kids cheered happily. For five seconds, I felt like THE most wonderful mom in the world.
– See! You always find answers in books!
I am not sure they had a valuable lesson on the benefits of reading that day, looking at my kids always on their electronic devices today, but at that specific moment, it looked like it. It felt great. Then, I went back to my regular role of the chauffeur, cook and housekeeper, with a little bit of shame for my silly move. Anyway, you don’t stay wonderful for a long time with three famished kids in your car.
Today, I still look for answers in books. I am a bookworm, and I love perusing the cover of the books on shelves. My favorite place to dawdle is by the 100 section of the library, Philosophy and Psychology, or 200, Religion. I also like the 900, History, and the 800, Literature.
I don’t expect to find a treasure there, I just know I will find a pearl. It was during one of these trips to the library that I found Emotional Blackmail by Susan Forward. It was my greatest discovery, the one that had started my buoy journey to wellness harbor.
I continue to stroll the library. It has expanded my knowledge on the feel good lecture and self-help books, but also an unnecessary expertise that I have already forgot.
On my last adventure to the library, I have discovered a fascinating book on labyrinths and mazes. They are more than games and can tell a lot about us and our relationships, in a way, an easy trip out of our comfort zone. I will tell you more about it on my next post.