If It Ain’t Broke

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The clouds were thick, gray, billowed by with speed. Captivated, I lingered at the light, my teenage son by my side. “Riders on the Storm” by The Doors played on the radio, accompanied by bursts of intermittent rain. I spoke first.

“This morning at the vet when Dad and I found out Ruby was okay, we talked about gratitude — how tragedy strikes in peoples’ lives every day, how you must try to feel as much happiness as possible when everything is all right because things can change so quickly. You know, living with gratitude really does make a difference.”

My son remained quiet, his mood somber. “Okay, Mom, I get it, you don’t need to launch into a lecture.” He stuck an earbud in and lifted the bottle of water from the car door.

“I know, it’s just something I wanted to mention… and also that it takes effort to remember to live that way. Strange that it’s not natural, easier to think of yourself as inadequate, think about what you don’t have first, how you wish things were different. It’s like fighting your own self-imposed battle, you know? And the funny thing is — ”

“I get it, Mom.” He popped the other earbud in, tilted his head, pressed his chin to his neck.

I continued to nod in time with the music, shot my eyes at his profile, confident I could get him to give something up. “So… what else happened today?”

He snapped. “There’s nothing new, okay? You don’t always have to feel like you have to have an answer for everything. I just want to sit here — quietly. There’s nothing wrong. Isn’t that okay with you?”

I looked away then back again, mute. I listened for words in the song to erase the friction, wished for distraction, didn’t want to become more noise. I exhaled with a sharp huff.

There are moments as a parent where all you can do is breathe through them without any words. The funny thing is; well, that’s the funny thing: he gets that better than I do.

We traveled on, silently sorting out the blustery, gray-green scenery around us. It wasn’t that bad, not too hard to accept, certainly worthy of the photo I snapped from behind a misty windshield.

Finally, I reached for the volume and reclined my seat. I recognized the road in front of me. My son’s face slowly brightened as he watched. His expression further softened; complimented the sparse whiskers emerging on his chin, and together we settled into the groove of what became a perfect Tuesday afternoon.

His brain is squirmin’ like a toad…”

Then, laughter.


I took this picture of my son last week.

Yes, it was just last week. ❤️

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Thank you for reading!