Lessons From My Mother and the Toyota Dealership


[This is an older post originally written on my personal blog site. I'm re-posting it as a shoutout to my mother for her birthday that past his weekend.] 

I’m sitting here at the Toyota dealership, getting my car serviced (and blogging from my iPhone). I first thought about how much I hate having to drive 30 mins now, to get the same thing done that I could get at the place around the corner from my house. Although I enjoy the free servicing and roadside assistance that comes with me leasing my vehicle, the drive is not ideal. But as I sit here – for going on 40 minutes – I realized how much this place truly means to me.

It’s more than just oil changes and looking at the new car inventory. I used to come here with my mother all the time back when I was younger. I grew up around Toyotas and back when my mom used to lease, I’d be here about twice a year for 2 hours each time. I enjoyed it. The red, the music, the customer service, the soda, the games – everything. It was one of my favorite errands to run with my mother. It was here that I realized and fully understood my mother’s role as a protector.

We were outside, waiting for her new truck to come around the back so she can drive it away like we normally did every two years. The dealership is on one of the busiest streets in this town. A man was crossing the street to meet his family here, at the dealership. His family stood next to us. As he was crossing the street with excitement, a car knocked him off his feet and threw him to the pavement. His family went from excited to distraught. Some employees ran to help him while others hurried to call 911. My mom, she covered my eyes, forced my head to her body and covered my ears. She did not want me to experience not one bit of the tragedy that happened before everyone else’s eyes. 

Sitting here now, I’m reminded of that. I’m reminded of my mother protecting me from car crashes, bad boyfriends and other aspects of the adult world that I so desperately wanted to experience. I’m reminded of those times she'd mask her conversations, keep me from certain people and guard me from anything that threatened to dismiss my innocence. Sitting here, for the second time, without my mother has welcomed the realization that I’m really an adult now and I she can no longer protect me. I’ve dealt with death with no shelter. I’ve dealt with heartbreak, with no shield. My mother let go, as she needed to and left me with no protection. I’m open to the struggles of life and there’s nothing she can do about that now. I’m growing. I’ve grown.

As I sit here and recount the moments of my childhood that my mom tried to protect me from adulthood, I can’t help but to acknowledge how much of me that will be, one day. At some point I'll no longer be sitting here alone. I’ll have my own child to sit with as I wait for my car to be presented to me. I’ll have my own child to protect from the harsh realities of this world. A child whose eyes I'll cover and whose ears I'll press against my chest. 

But for right now, I’m just learning how to protect myself.

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