Tuesday, January 13, 2015


"Mom. I'm at the parking ramp and it won't take my card. Cars are backed up behind me. What do I do? The gate won't go up. What do I do?"



I heard tears. I sat, buckled into my van, immobile and slightly stunned. I had just left campus to come home for lunch and her call came right at the moment I pulled into our garage, my stomach growling.

Lizzy is taking a college class. Her first day was yesterday.  She will be on campus three days a week for about an hour. It's exposure to a major she's considering for college. It's independence. It's details like where to park, how to find the classroom building, how to maneuver the university website to find assignments and notes, and apparently, it is trying to figure out the automated ticket taker at the parking ramp.

As I sat buckled into my seat, phone to my ear, trying to figure out what the heck to do, I overheard Lizzy talking to someone. She had forgotten about me and my useless advice to take a deep breath and relax, and was telling a stranger who had seen her distress and came to help, her dilema.

I wanted to back out of the garage, head back to campus, and make it all better.

It wasn't pretty. Cars had to wait. People got impatient. I sat in the van, buckled in, for about five minutes after we got disconnected, weighing my options.

When I realized there was nothing I could do but let her take care of the situation by herself, I unbuckled my seatbelt, and headed inside to grab some lunch. I was met with a pile of bags and suitcases right inside the kitchen door.

Kelli headed back to school yesterday, her Christmas break now over. She was packed and ready, waiting for her friend to come and pick her up. They were heading the four hours back to their prairie school.

I told her about Liz.

She told me it would be fine.

We sat at the table and ate leftovers.

I texted Liz to see what she was up to and if there was anything I needed to do.

"I'm out," she said.

She was free from the parking ramp's immovable arm and was already at her friend's house where a group of her friends were hanging out for the afternoon as they didn't have school yesterday.

I looked at the clock and saw it was time to head back to work.

I told Kelli I had to go, I grabbed her, held her close, kissed her head, and inhaled the sweet smell of her gorgeous self.

"I love you Kelli. I don't know when we'll get up there to see you, but we'll figure something out. Hopefully we'll see you in February.  Please drive safe. Call me when you get there so I know you're safe."

I pulled into my parking lot at work and I got another text from Liz.

"Mom, is it OK if I stay longer?"

"Sure sweetie," I texted back. " Please be careful driving. Supper will be waiting for you when you get home. Love you so much."

I unbuckled my seatbelt, and headed into work.


  1. I love this story!!! Way to be a good mom and let her figure it out for herself, and glad a nice stranger was willing to help!!! You are such a talented writer, I felt like I was starting a book!!!

    1. Thank you! I felt like I should have won the terrible mom award. Thanks for the encouragement.


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