The woman in the mirror
Monday August 06th 2012, 10:37 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Life

Three people, two cars, multiple errands that had no room for delay, and Michelle’s first day of work.

I dropped Richard off at his office. An accident, the freeway a parking lot, later a guy in a hot red sportscar trying to defy physics as he impulsively zoomed a left in front of me, the car in my other lane having turned out of the way exactly in time to save us all as I braked and veered. So close.

Remember that car alarm that is designed so my mechanic cannot disable it permanently that randomly goes off every now and then? The one that nearly got a man killed? I learned long ago from the manual that you have to put the key in the driver’s side and turn it quickly three times to the left to get it to stop. HONKHONKHONKHONKHONK

I was in downtown and next to an apartment complex, rush hour starting up, lots of people to bother, and this time it really meant it. Nothing stopped it, not the key, not the fob, not this, not that, nothing. I went through the manual again, noting wryly that I had written loudly on it where to find the page quickly. HONKHONKHONKHONKHONKHONK

Finally a mailman pulled onto the crowded street, found (an illegal) parking space a way down, hiked back to me and asked, Did you try this? (Which was not in the manual.)

Silence never sounded so good.

I went home absolutely beat.

And got a note from Suzanne: wasn’t it nice that I had the good health to be able to go do all that today?

She was right. I’d so needed that. Her gratitude changed everything.

And Michelle came home radiant. It was a little scary, the things they expected her to come up to snuff on so fast, but they were putting great faith in her and oh by the way you’re doing the big presentation in two weeks on…

A boss who believes in her already. She’s determined to live up to that. Perfect.

Years ago, a new Stanford grad asked Richard how on earth to decide between two job offers. One was more prestigious and paid more; the other, though, really spoke to him.

Richard told him: Imagine you’re driving home from work. Now, look in the rearview mirror: is the man looking back at you smiling?

The guy thanked him, took the lower-paying job, and years later he sent us a note letting us know where all that had come to–it had been the right road, most definitely. We will never forget that he took the time to let us know.

Michelle had thought she’d wanted a different job more, and when it didn’t happen, I told her she was going to be glad later that she hadn’t taken the wrong one.

She came home with the whole world her mirror. She’s smiling too.

7 Comments so far
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I love your story, Alison. One of my favorite Christmas cards of all time came from a girl who had been a friend of my daughter’s, in an Iowa middle school. 15 years after we moved away, I got a Christmas card thanking me for setting her on the path to her life’s work…… it seems that the frustration she felt when her gingerbread house collapsed at our annual gingerbread party sent her off to find out how real houses are built and buttressed, and she is now a successful architect!

Comment by Barbara M. in NH 08.07.12 @ 8:11 am

this reminds me of the Edwin Markham quote my grandmother used use: “…all that we send into the lives of others comes back again into our own”

so glad that Sam’s smiling

Comment by Bev 08.07.12 @ 8:29 am

I have NEVER liked those car alarms.
Three cheers for Michelle on her new job! Of COURSE she will do well. Look who her parents are.
As for you, young lady, I assume you are looking at that smiling face in the mirror.

Comment by Don Meyer 08.07.12 @ 8:54 am

LOVE Richard’s advice. Brilliant.

Comment by Channon 08.07.12 @ 9:15 am

I’m glad Michelle is smiling – that you are all able to smile. That is energy that cannot be bought!

I keep cheering for you and yours!

Comment by Suzanne from Montreal 08.07.12 @ 4:44 pm

Your day sounds like enough to frazzle most…glad you were able to end it with good things and good thoughts.

Comment by Ruth 08.07.12 @ 7:19 pm

I’m smiling, too, thinking of Michelle smiling, and you smiling back at her (like a mirror).

Comment by twinsetellen 08.07.12 @ 8:09 pm

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