Each day I drive our van and am reminded of a four year-old’s idea of auto repair. The story goes something like this:
Several years ago, my daughter Amelia came running into my office, panicked-stricken and desperately looking for something.
“Dad?” she asked nervously. Her voice was full of worry.
“Yes, Millie?” My voice was as calm and relaxed as a spring day. As an expert at daddy-ing, I’ve learned to keep my cool during the stressful times (which means I wasn’t really paying attention).
“Can I borrow some tape?”
“Sure.” A more experienced paternal figure might have thought to question a four-year-old’s desperate need for tape, but my calm demeanor beat out the voice of warning in my head and I handed over the tape dispenser (the tape dispenser pictured is what my tape dispenser looks like and I highly recommend it as a gift for those who refuse to let their childhood go).
Where was I? Oh, yes, the tape dispenser was handed off and the child ran off to fix… something. A short time later, I discovered the reason for Millie’s worry when my wife came into the office and asked if I had given her the tape.
I sensed trouble. Not the obvious trouble I should have picked up on at my little girl’s initial request, but the kind of trouble as in ‘Bryun, you’re about to be in trouble’.
My husband survival skills kicked in without thinking. Pretend like you don’t know what’s going on. “What are you talking about?”
Her wife training was more impressive. Restate the question while making eye contact. “Did. You. Give. Millie. The. Tape?”
Dang. No way to avoid the question now that her slow restate got me to look directly at her. “Yeah…” Dramatic pause to reinforce you have no idea what’s going on and then state the obvious: “Is there a problem?”
My wife held up a rear-view mirror covered with scotch tape. My first thought was about the $1.50 in wasted tape. I mean, anybody knows that to reattach a rear-view mirror takes a lot more than tape–
Oh, crud. Now I understood the source of my little one’s desperation. Coincidentally, it was the same source as the frustration in my wife’s face and soon to be the source of money being taken from my bank account.
Happily, it wouldn’t be the source of anger or shouting, as my wife and I both looked at the tape-covered mirror and started laughing. We laughed until our stomachs hurt and our eyes watered. We laughed at the plight of a little girl who was certain she was going to get in trouble. Mostly, we just laughed at how ridiculous the whole thing was, and a mental image of a little girl pulling off a rear view mirror through some failed attempt at gymnastics and then scrambling to figure out how to fix it before she got caught.
Whatever the reason, my wife and I sat in my office and just laughed. In doing so, we created one of our favorite memories from that little girl’s younger years and something that brings a smile and still makes us laugh two years later. Aside from the ugly blight on our windshield (something that remains to this day), the whole story became a cherished memory.
Because we laughed.