I cheered myself right up not long ago when I was transporting seven teenage boys who are part of my life into the city where they tutor young schoolchildren.
They love doing this. The children they help look up at them with the shiniest eyes, thinking, as I imagine, This is how I will look in just eight more years! – Like Hazees here! Or Machias! Or Tobi, or LaVon or Gamaral or Enderson or Bryson!’ One child always sets a small hand on his older helper’s hemp bracelet and slowly turns it as they work.
I mean who wouldn’t be in high spirits after outings like this?
I’m always in high spirits too as we make our way home through the by-then rush-hour traffic. We listen to Bob Marley and Frank Ocean, Justin Timberlake and Marvin Gaye. They joke and catnap, talk and sing along.
One day though we were on the last leg of the journey, navigating the curves and dips on road that constitutes the final leg of the journey to lands us at last in our town, which is when one of the boys said “your car smells today.” “Yeah it does,” said another. “I ‘m getting it too’” said a third. “It’s like rotting vegetables.
“It does not!” I said.
“Kinda though , Terry. It kinda does,” they said one said and they all laughed some more.
So, what could I do but go funny:
Oh yeah?” I said as we sailed down the last lap of that hilly road. “Well I’ve been drinking heavily, how do you like that?! Also…. I cut the brakes .”
They laughed appreciatively at the absurdity of both ideas and we were off the topic of my sweet little girl of a minivan.
I was hurt by the remark about her, sure. And to be honest I generally DO have some old forgotten piece of fruit huddled under the seats festering away. But hey: If you’re the grownup and you’re spending time with young people the last thing you should do is make them feel they have to take care of your emotions.
Saved by humor again, as I hope to be so saved for many more years to come.