I was checking out the last three cities on my “move to list” and was headed back to Columbus when my Civic decided 250,000 miles was enough. I nursed it from Cincinnati to Columbus. Then on the following Monday I bought a truck. I had some of my friends telling me how sorry they were about that.
I’m not. You see when I move I was going to have to use a U-Haul. And if you have ever moved you know how that goes.
“Yes, I am moving 1,000 miles away and I need to rent a truck.”
“Oh. Well, I can’t rent you any of my trucks. These are only for local use. Let me give you directions to the one-way dealer.”
Two hours later when you finally arrive at that “other” U-Haul dealer you are in a section of town that makes the back side of town look not so bad after-all. And the truck you get to rent to go one-way? Yeah. It was one of the last trucks that Henry Ford himself actually turned a wrench on. Gas mileage? If you can get 10 m.p.g. you’ll be doing good. But, yeah, at least the bailing wire that is holding it together is new.
Nope, I don’t need to do any of that. I bought a nice little used truck. Didn’t cost much and my insurance will be less than what the Civic was. Now I’ll just put my stuff in the back and put Columbus in my rearview mirror. It is all a matter of perspective.
Next week is also my daughter’s birthday. Not Elizabeth, her birthday is in a month. No April 10, will be Alex’s 11th birthday. Alexandra Elizabeth Combs, my first born, Elizabeth’s older sister. There are so many things Alex taught me. Things no one else could have taught me. More than that are the gifts she gave to me and her baby sister.
What she taught me was the power of my own love for another person. No one expected her to last 30 minutes. But she lasted for more than 90 minutes. I marveled at that, she was so tiny. Where did she get the strength I asked the nurse. The nurse’s answer was just two words, “From you.” She stayed with me, in my arms, until I told her it was ok for her to go. Then within just a couple of minutes, she was gone.
The precious gift she gave to her little sister? A better dad than she would have had. Because of Alex, I know how important each minute is with Elizabeth. I am not the dad I want to be, but I am a better dad than I would have been without Alex.
The gift she gave to me? The chance to help other dads who are grieving. Like my friend Matt who just lost his little girl. I have walked in his shoes and understand like only a father who has lost a little one can understand.
You see, in life, there are many things that happen that we have no control over. But, we can control how we perceive those events and what we do afterwards.
It is, after all, a matter of perspective.