Pulling it together

I know life is messy.

In fact, becoming a parent has been a crash course in learning that life is really messy, figuratively and literally.

But why oh, why, tell me, did my car have to die in rush-hour traffic in downtown Minneapolis in 90-degree heat, 75 minutes before my son was due to take the stage with 100 other kids at his choir concert in the burbs?
I could not miss this 40-minute performance.

We’re talking about the equivalent of a graduation ceremony for a fourth-grader — MY fourth-grader — who had been working ALL YEAR with his classmates on a peace program with poetry, art, fundraising and songs, too.

But what was I supposed to do? Leave my car in traffic and risk a vehicular abandonment fine?

Across the street, a graduation ceremony appeared to be assembling on the lawn of the Basilica, further complicating traffic with a flood of cars looking for street parking, plus hundreds of pedestrians.

None of this helped with my embarrassment amid the honking drivers and angry bus drivers, who looked confused as I scoured my phone for tow truck phone numbers. No, I’m not on Facebook, guys.

And then, it miraculously happened: Everyone I know came together to help me.

My ex-husband, already on the way with his wife to the concert, was able to swoop into the complete chaos and push my car through a green light to a not-legal, but out-of-traffic parking spot.

Minutes later my boyfriend, who was in St. Paul when the drama began, arrived to stay with the car until we had time to give it a jump.

Long story short — we made it. We got to see the entire performance, which was, of course, priceless.

Immediately afterward, we returned to my car and boyfriend. Amid pouring rain and thunder (and lightning strikes in the distance), we tried to jump the car. No dice.

As we waited an hour for the tow truck to arrive and dined on granola bars, I felt so incredibly lucky that these people in my son’s life came so quickly to my rescue.

Despite being in a two-, sometimes three-household family, which can often feel like a messy endeavor indeed, we all came together on a moment’s notice.

And for that I’m truly grateful.

Epilogue: The next day, after I had secured a rental car, the mechanic called. I braced for the repair-bill report — $800? $2,400? More?

No, the car, he said, was out of gas!

So, if your life feels messy this summer, know that I’m with you.