Pink Cadillac Summer



As I followed little girl in her pink Cadillac to the park this week, little brother and a friend in tow, my mind wandered back to that phone call with Dad a couple of years ago. And I smiled.

He had a co-worker with a gently used pink Barbie Cadillac Escalade. The co-worker would not accept any money. He just wanted a little girl to be able to enjoy it as much as his little girl did before she grew out of it.

"He's bringing it to work sometime this week and I can drop it off to you."

Heh heh. 

This was going to take some swallowing of pride.

*****
 
I know what it's like to be walking down the aisle at Toys R Us and happen upon a Barbie car when you're a little girl. It's magical. You climb inside and you dream of cruising the neighborhood in it.

But I never had one. And I had a lovely childhood void of frivolous pink cars. And I grew up to be responsible. With my priorities straight. 

So every time my husband suggested we consider getting a motorized car for our daughter, I turned him down with my little speech about how not having a pink Barbie car made me into the woman I am today. Even when we came across one for $50 at a yard sale. I assured him it was best we walk away.

But there's no way I was going to get away with turning it down now.

I recall the night he got home. "So, uh, honey. My dad's got a little something for us....".

If you'd seen his eyes light up when I told him what it was, you would've known it was all over too.

*****

Once we had the Cadillac in our possession, I had to admit, it was an impressive sight. And very fun.

And as we cruised the neighborhood behind our little girl, I felt the need to explain to everyone how we got it.

"Yeah, my dad had this co-worker who just didn't want it on his hands anymore. See, we were actually helping the guy get rid of it."

One summer night as we were getting ready for bed, my husband made a request. "Could you stop explaining to everyone how we got a hold of that car? It takes you five minutes. It's okay if they don't know the whole back story."

He had a point.

I just didn't know how else to stop people from thinking that I would buy a pink Barbie Cadillac Escalade for my little girl. 

*****

And then one summer's night when we were again cruising the neighborhood, we bumped into a family just a stage ahead of ours. They had two daughters in school. I had always admired them, their friendliness, their sweet kids.

After saying our hellos, she motioned over to the Barbie car. "These are so fun. We got one for our daughters two Christmases ago. They just love it. It makes me sad to think of they day they'll outgrow it."

You mean, they bought one on purpose? It wasn't thrust upon them?

With that, she totally shattered my image of people who buy pink Cadillacs for their daughters.

Ever since then, I've kind of embraced the car.

*****

Driving home from the park one day a little later that same summer, there he was.

A decade and a few gray hairs older than my dad, shaking his head.

The epitome of everything I had feared when the pink Cadillac came to live at our home standing there in front of us.

"You know if you get her one of those at this age what she's going to expect when she's 16." His words and body language reeked of disapproval. 

I knew this day would come.

But I was prepared. Because the pink Cadillac had taught me some lessons that summer that made me look at things differently.
 
The first of those lessons being, don't lump everyone into the same box, ie, people who buy pink Cadillacs for their children.

Don't be so fast to make assumptions about people.  More often than not, you are wrong.

People with pink Cadillacs have feelings too.

Be flexible in marriage on things that aren't as earth-shattering as I may perceive them to be. 

And finally, the most ground-breaking for me, one I am still perfecting, that it is not my job to stop people from thinking anything. That is in fact a very exhausting route to take in life. It's really just my job to live a good life, without or with a pink Cadillac.

I endured the shaking of his head back and forth with zero words in my defense, only a smile. Not a smug smile. A genuinely kind and friendly smile. Because I recognized a lot of me in him. He and I would probably get along better than he would assume.

If I was going to be one of these pink Cadillac owners, it was time to start building some bridges.

That and any other disapproving glance since (and there have been a few) have been the price I have paid to learn the lessons of that pink Cadillac summer.

And it has been worth it. 



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