The Fixer

The Fixer

On a recent stroll I spotted two men at the entrance to an elementary school parking lot. A 10-foot wooden gate had locked in the closed position. The men were trying to free it. When I returned about 30 minutes later, they had.

Last week a leak sprouted from a fire hydrant at a nearby intersection. Water spewed across the road splashing cars, pedestrians, and dogs alike. A city work crew appeared. Shortly thereafter, the leak stopped.

The door to a kitchen cabinet came off a hinge. My husband emerged with a tool chest. Minutes later, the door shut just fine.

Years ago, a boy was holed up in his room. He’d stopped doing math, history and English. Sullen and alone, he needed to be fixed.

The boy was mine. And although this was now more than a decade ago, I can still feel the urgency to get him fixed.

But no men showed up.
No city work crew pulled up to our door.
Not even my husband – with his well-worn toolbox – could fix this one.

So obviously, it was up to me. Wasn’t I the caregiver? The “fixer?” Mothers mend bodies and souls, especially of those we love the most.

It began with quiet conversation, then repeated questions. What are you doing? What’s that next to your bed? Why are you doing this to yourself? To us? To everyone who loves you.

Talk to me. I don’t understand I’m your mother. I have to fix this.

But the frantic pleas, the therapists, the treatments – both in and out – did nothing.

Until finally, he fixed it.

The leak stopped.
The door hinge worked again.
And the gate swung open.

I just had to get out of his way, give him time and space…
and leave that job up to him.