Recently, I got a flat tire. That night, I posted about it on social media. That post was picked up by a couple of groups with a large number of followers. And suddenly, I had 13,000 plus people liking and sharing my adventure (oh, hey Ellen!) The post went like this:
“When I got a flat tire on I-75 just south of Findlay, I was ready to accept the challenge of changing it. However, it was 5:15 p.m. and traffic was flowing heavily — especially the 18 wheelers flying by unable to get over. So I called for some lights just to keep the traffic over so I could safely get this tire changed.
And do you know who they sent? A WOMAN! They knew I was a woman and they knew I had a tire to change. They must have also known that we were more than ready and capable of tackling this challenge.
Together, Trooper Teri Cavin and I removed the spare, loosened the lug nuts, jacked the car up, removed the bad tire, put on the new, tightened the bolts, removed the jack, and put the old tire in the spare’s place. Oh, and we did it in about 20 minutes!
Meanwhile, my pops had gotten wind that I had a flat tire. He jumped in his car from Cridersville and headed straight to my rescue. I told him it was OK, we could do this! I told him we would be done by the time he got there. I told him he didn’t need to come.
He got on the road anyway. Because that’s what dads do. And because every other time his baby had a flat tire, he came to my rescue. But what he forgot is that those other few times, he handed me the tools and let me help. He taught me that you loosened the lug nuts before you jack it off the ground. He told me to be careful with the jack, as you have to place it under the correct part of the vehicle. He reminded me “righty tighty” and “lefty loosey.”
By the time I called him to tell him I was back on the road, he had made it to Findlay and was turning around to get on southbound where I was. I felt awful that he drove that far. He just said he wasn’t sure if I knew how to do it and he didn’t want me stranded. It was then that I reminded him, that he TAUGHT me what to do in this situation so I could do it if I needed to. He helped raise this tire-changing female. And I am so grateful he did!
Before I left the side of the road, and after a ton of “Thank You’s” to Trooper Cavin, I did what only a woman would do — — I reached out and gave her a hug.
So here’s to strong women:
May we know them
May we be them
May we raise them.”
Because of all the “likes” and “shares,” this story kept popping up. So I reread it over and over. Suddenly, the last part struck me.
I know strong women — plenty of them — from my mom, to my sisters, to friends, to coworkers. And I feel like I am a strong woman. I can do anything I set my heart to and my competitiveness will challenge any task that may be placed in my way suggesting otherwise.
But am I following through on the “raising” strong women part? Look, I know my kids are only 4 and 2 but it certainly made me take a step back.
So we started giving them responsibilities, especially Maylie. She is now putting her plate in the sink when she finishes, putting her clothes in the hamper when she changes, and even using the handheld vacuum when she makes a mess on the floor.
All of these little things I just did for her because I always had, and I didn’t realize that she was now old enough to not only accept responsibility but crave it.
Maylie now asks me what “chore” she can do. She’s putting trash bags in the trash can when we empty it and rinsing off dishes before I put them in the dishwasher.
And maybe she is just turning the “big kid” corner with age, but I truly feel like these extra tasks have improved her thinking that everything should be handed to her.
I will provide her with guidance and rewards along the way and always make sure she is surrounded by strong women. But, as a mother of two girls, the raising of strong women part falls in my hands. And nothing makes me happier than seeing my 4 year old show signs of the strong woman she can become.
We can know strong women. We can be strong women, but in this world of self entitlement, we (me included) truly can’t forget to raise them.
Thanks, Dad and Mom!
Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her husband, Paul, and their daughters, her writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.