The Difference

Yesterday, my man-child took the car to see Wonder Woman with his friends. En route, he noticed the tank was low on gas, so he stopped to fill it up for me. After the movie and dinner, he returned to the car.

It wouldn’t start.

First he googled. Then he called me.

“Did you accidentally fill the Diesel engine with regular gas?” I anxiously asked.

“I’m pretty sure not.”

A security person tried to give it a jump, but the battery was fine. Per Gerry’s suggestion and with John’s help, I arrived and added a bottle of HEET to clear the fuel line of any debris.


I began to suspect he was mistaken.

“Are you certain you added diesel?”

“Yes. Definitely. Pretty sure.”

I fell asleep imagining the worst.

At 9:00 this morning, I enrolled in AAA. By 11 am, I’d bicycled over to meet the tow truck.

“I fear that my well-meaning son may have added regular fuel to my diesel-engine,” I began.

“Well if that’s the case, I’ll just tow it to the scrapyard.”

I tried the ignition.

“Hmmm…” he said.

He tried the ignition. Then he tried it again.

“It wants to start,” he muttered, cranking some more.

“I want it to start!”

And finally it caught. Curmudgeonly. Noisily. Painfully.

“I can smell the diesel,” he began. “Your kid did no wrong. That sounds like the fuel injector.”

At which I almost cried.

A decade ago, I would have overreacted and blamed my boy the instant I sensed his doubt, lashing-out and judging him…later doubling-back to shamefully apologize.

This weekend, I held my reaction inside: angry and fearful, questioning my parenting, holding my breath on the car’s verdict.

Outwardly, I told my boy how grateful I was that he’d filled the car’s tank, proud that he’d known when to ask for help, pleased that he’d learned how to jump an engine…while quietly cringing that he may have destroyed my only vehicle at a time when I can ill-afford to replace it.

My favorite teacher always says: “The difference which makes the difference is where we place our attention.”

I’m looking forward to the day when I can relax and trust that it’s all unfolding as it should, that we are supported in exactly the ways we need, that all will be well. I feel like I’m on that path…but nowhere near the end of the trail.

And that’s ok.

The view from here is better than it was a decade ago.


Author: punkproprietress

Punk who pokes peeps for cheap.

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