What The Orange Car Taught Me

With two kids under my charge, it is challenging to have good and long conversations with F as I often have to attend to E. I can’t quite sit down and properly interact with her, nor can I read books after books and do craft with her without getting interrupted; it is a far cry from when we were a family of three. School runs are therefore so much more than commutes of late; we often yak up a storm on our way to and from school, and we enjoy talking about the things we spot on the road or events that happened at school or at home, and F ensures that we make time for as many songs as possible in DJ Mama’s repertoire. It’s all very merry (maybe except when E wails to express his utter distaste for the car seat) and we love the time that we get with each other, even if it’s spent confined to our seats.

Yesterday morning, we hit the road as usual and F decided that it would bring her much joy to spot vehicles of certain colours.

“Black car, Mama! Let’s look for another black car!”

“Look Mama, one, two, TWO BLACK CARS! Let’s look for a white car now!”

Two black cars, three white cars and two silver cars later, F was utterly delighted at the game we were playing and she semi-shouted whilst flapping her arms like a chicken on the loose, “Mama, ORANGE! Let’s look for a(n) orange car!”

I froze and thought, ‘Jialat. We are almost reaching her school, what are the odds of spotting an orange car?!’

As I drove around the bend that leads to her school, I gently suggested that orange cars are rare and we may not spot any. I mean, I told her ‘may not’ but I was thinking more along the lines of ‘will not’ as we were just thirty seconds away from school. F was a little disappointed to hear that and her enthusiasm waned but she remained quietly hopeful.

As I filtered right, I couldn’t believe my eyes.

“FAITH, LOOK! ORANGE CAR!” (I truly felt and beamed like I won the lottery.)

“Mama, ORANGE CAR!! Let’s look for another one!” (And F was beyond elated.)

Ten seconds left as I turned into the carpark…well, let’s just say that I was not hopeful at all even though we spotted (rather miraculously, if I might add) an orange car towards the end of the school run.

Then, it happened again.

“OH MY GOSH, Faith!! ANOTHER orange car!” (Never in my life have I thought that I would get that excited over an orange automobile.)

“YAAAYYY, Mama, YAAAYY!” F exclaimed with unbridled joy.

And there I was, trying to protect her from potential disappointment and doling out measured doses of pessimism to my daughter. Unconsciously teaching her to think about what’s impossible rather than focusing on what’s possible. Stifling her sense of wonder and quest for limitless possibilities.

The orange car is not so elusive after all. It can be found, so long as we have hope and look hard enough, even in the most unexpected places. Now, let’s look for a purple car, shall we? (Or so F requested after we spotted the second orange car.)

***

An acquaintance, Tim, shared a lovely quote with me after reading this post. It resonates well and I thought I would share this with you too. 

“That all are born radiating light but that this light diminished slowly (if one was lucky) or abruptly (if one was not). The most charismatic people – the poets, the mystics, the explorers – were that way because they had somehow managed to keep a bit of this light that was meant to have dimmed. But the shocking thing, the unbearable thing it seemed, was that the natural order was for this light to vanish. It hung on sometimes through the twenties, a glint here or there in the thirties, and then almost always the eyes went dark.” – Jenny Offill, Dept. of Speculation

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