guest post: what my mom taught me while pushing a car.

Lesley Miller is one of my very dear friends who just so happens to be a beautiful writer. Visit her blog for more inspirational words and stories…

I was on my way to get a haircut a few weeks ago when I pulled off the freeway behind a little Jetta with blinking hazard lights. We stopped next to each other at the red light, and I glanced over in curiosity. The driver looked about my age, 30 or so, perhaps on her way home from work.  Like me she was flustered, but not because of running late for a hair appointment. Before I could give it a second thought, I started waving my hands and yelling: “Do you need a push?!”

Jonathan would have laughed if he’d been in the car. To give a little context, I cannot do one single push up and I know nothing about cars, so I had no business offering my services.  Fortunately the driver rolled down her window with a nervous smile and said no. The engine was still running but she’d hit something on the freeway that was causing a noise.

I was free to continue on my way, and as I did I thought about the reason I’d even stopped in the first place. Years ago, when I was just a little girl, I watched my mom offer her car pushing services to a female stranger.

Mom was driving us three kids in her 1985 Dodge Caravan when a driver in front of us couldn’t start her car after a red light. I remember her glancing around at other drivers who continued to zoom past. She waited for what seemed like a long time; probably thinking about the safety of all of us in the back and weighing it against the woman in front of us who looked panicky and stuck. This was long before cell phones, of course. Then I remember her saying, in a voice of exasperation, “Look at all these men just sitting around doing nothing! For crying out loud, someone needs to help this woman!

And then she hopped out of the car and began pushing the car in front of us. All by herself.

I feel it’s important to note: my mom is not a raging feminist, nor is she a man hater.  She is, however, a get-it-done woman who isn’t going to wait around during an emergency for a bigger or stronger guy to get up off his butt.

My mom has taught me many lessons throughout my lifetime, but when I look back on my childhood that moment stands out most. She showed me that taking care of another woman, even a stranger, is important. We may not be wearing the right shoes, we may have kids in the back of the car, and we may not think we are physically strong enough—but sometimes a need can outweigh all the “but ifs.”  She taught me to show up even when the circumstances aren’t ideal; to reach out even when you’re not sure how it’s all going to work, and to not wait around for a man to step-in, even if it would be a lot more convenient.

These days, I’m driving my own baby around in the backseat. She’s listening to how I talk to others, and she’s watching the decisions I make. I hope someday she’ll remember the ways I stepped up, just like my own mom did.

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8 Responses to guest post: what my mom taught me while pushing a car.

  1. Laura Doyle says:

    Umm… cue tears! Great story!

    I once helped push a car of another woman, who had kids in the car, in the snow. Its so important to be there for others. And what a reminder Lesley that when we are in the car and kids are in the backseat, they are watching and listening.
    Laura Doyle´s last blog post ..Front Porch Protection

  2. Totally LOVE this! Great post Lesley!

  3. Ann Sebek says:

    Now that made me cry!

  4. Jeff Sebek says:

    I have been blessed to be married to Ann Sebek for 31 years. I have witnessed over, and over, and over, and over-am I getting my point across?- the unselfish, caring, loving, willing to do anything for anybody, person that Lesley so beautifully describes in this post. There are many reasons that my daughter Lesley is the wonderful, delightful, caring, person that she is. The most influential person in her life, is the apple tree my daughter fell from, my wife.

  5. Sarabell says:

    I love this. A few years ago I was working at a bank and woman’s car died in our drive-through lane. A friend and I went out and pushed her car in dresses and heels while our male co-worker hid in the bathroom. We were furious, but she later came back and said a lot of really kind words, which included letting us know that it meant even more to her that we would do it dressed as we were. Such a sweet lady.
    Sarabell´s last blog post ..Lime Leaf.

  6. I love and appreciate the strength Lesley learned from her mom.

    Ann, a lot of people are grateful to you for showing Lesley how and when to push a car 🙂
    Tamara Powell´s last blog post ..Are MOOCs the Future of Higher Education?

  7. robyn says:

    robyn´s last blog post ..Running in Nairobi – more notes

  8. Elly says:

    I’m totally a fan of the get-it-done attitude, if you can help, then make it happen. Especially as easy as something as helping push a strangers car – we did it on a road trip the bank holiday just gone. It was a fairly easy thing, to push the broken down van onto a shoulder so people could drive past. So good on you, hey. That’s awesome 🙂
    Elly´s last blog post ..Tahrir Square – 1st of December 2011

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