I had my first flat tire this morning.
I was a few blocks away from a colleague’s house heading home around 1:30 a.m. when I hit a mancover. I knew right away I should have been more careful. The road was bad and under construction. A few blocks down the road, I pulled over under a street light. The left front tire was flat. The tire pressure light came on.
My husband Ben is out of town for a marathon. I couldn’t call him, so I went back to my coworker’s party. Two of my colleagues and one of their friends tried to repair the tire. But, it’s a new vehicle. Instead of a spare, it came with a repair kit, which didn’t work.
I called a cab for the 35-minute drive home. But, a third colleague rescued me from a huge cab bill and took me home — even though I live in Minneapolis and he lives in St. Paul, where the party was.
Later today, I went back to my colleague’s house. He took my tire off and put a new one on for me, in the rain.
It’s the little things like replacing a tire that make me miss my dad like crazy. During the short drive between my colleague’s house and the tire shop, I cried and cried about not being able to call on my dad for help. I had the kind of hard cry when you need a Kleenex, or a shirt sleeve, to clean up. He would have sent a tow truck as soon as he heard the words, “I have a flat tire.”
In case this is your first time reading, my dad died at 46 from multiple myeloma, a blood cancer. My sister and I were 10 and 11.
My dad didn’t see me go to my first prom, watch me graduate from college or walk me down the aisle. He didn’t help me pick out my first car (a ’98 Pontiac Grand Am) or give me advice when Ben and I bought our first home (we closed on Aug. 5). He didn’t watch me run my first marathon.
When I walked down the aisle, my mom and sister flanked me. The father-daughter dance became a godfather-goddaughter dance.
I’m grateful for what I have — friends, relatives and a husband who step in because my dad can’t. The kind of friends who must know the little stuff gets to me, because they pat me on the back and tell me everything will be okay. I’m blessed to have friends who spend part of their Sunday fixing my car, call to make sure the car and I are fine, and sacrifice sleep so I don’t have to spend money on a cab.
But on days like this, I think about what I don’t have, too.
So, I run. And on April 29, I’ll run the Big Sur International Marathon on behalf of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation in memory of my dad and in honor of my colleague Ruben, who’s now fighting multiple myeloma.
I run because I hate the idea of girls not being able to call their dads when they get a flat tire. I run because the little things matter.
If you want to help support a mission close to my heart, please visit my fundraising page here. My goal is to raise at least $1,700 — $100 for each year my dad has been gone. As of Oct. 23, I’ve raised $701.