The big 4-0 creeps ever closer for my darling daughter. The calendar does not measure the big event so much as the change in her mindset. She called me this morning to say, “I am becoming my parents.” and proceeded to tell me a couple stories.
Yesterday afternoon she was headed to the church where Katie attends Mother’s Day Out. She stopped at a red traffic light and reached over to spit her gum into a paper. “It didn’t take more than a couple seconds,” she said. During that brief glance away, the light changed to green.
“The person behind me honked her horn at me to get going. No one else had left the intersection; she did not have to wait long. Still she honked her horn. I drove on and went to the church. The person in the car behind me zoomed ahead, went around me, and wove in and out of traffic. We were going the same direction. In fact that impatient lady went to the same place to get her child from the very same Mother’s Day Out.
“She whipped around looking for a choice parking space. I parked and was inside, picking up my daughter a bit ahead of her. I just had to laugh. So much impatience. I am becoming my parents. I’m like an old lady getting her laughs from watching ‘young whippersnappers’ get their ‘just desserts.’ It was just so much fuss for such a short distance.”
My daughter is probably thinking about all the times my husband has refused to pass the car going a mile or two slower than he wanted to go. “I am about to turn off the four-lane. It is ridiculous to hurry up and pass someone just to turn off the highway a few seconds later,” he has always insisted while my impatient soul urges him, “Pass ‘em!”
In the same conversation she admitted to copying her parents’ gas saving secret. “I went to fill up my tank at the grocery store station that gives a discount with purchases of groceries. When I got to the gas tank and punched in my numbers, I realized I had 90 cents off per gallon of gas this time!”
Her gas light was on, so she needed to fill up without delay. She was ready to start filling her tank, but 90 cents! This was too good not to share! She called her husband, “Hey, do you need gas!? We can get 90 cents off a gallon if you do!”
“I am not too sure. I will have to drive there.”
“I will pump the gas slowly to give you time to get here.”
He left for work and met her saying, “My gas light just came on.” They had two vehicles in need of filling.
“And if you had had the gas can for your lawn mower, you could have topped it off as well!” I said.
“Well, you can only get like 35 gallons of gas at the discount rate, and we got almost 34 gallons. This was so much like what you guys do that all the time: Drive up to the gas tank and fill both cars at the discount. I am becoming my parents.”
“Hey! You saved enough to pay for your whole family to go out to eat,” I reminded her.
Eventually that child of mine will tap into even more of my favorite ways to stretch a dollar. Meanwhile, her mindset realizes that sometimes we cannot save money or time. So we may as well sit back and enjoy the ride.
Joan Hershberger, former News-Times Staff member, writing with her daughter Sharon Schulte.