Sometimes you can learn a lot about and from a person you least expected to offer you anything valuable.
You know, like a cop who pulls you over for speeding.
Saturday morning was hectic. I didn’t get much sleep Friday night and woke up early to go run at the lake the next morning. On my way home, I stopped at Target because I had a baby shower to attend that day and needed to get some things for my niece.
I’m already ridiculously excited about being Aunt Nattie to a human (in addition to being so for my sister’s dog and cat, of course), and the trip to Target only magnified that. I wanted to buy her ALL of the things. I saw so many items there that she doesn’t necessarily need but really absolutely must have. I mean, every little girl needs a Texas Rangers pacifier and a onesie that says “I woke up like this” on it.
I don’t know how much time I spent in the baby section thinking about all of the fun things that will come with being an aunt, but it was long enough that I knew I needed to hustle so that I could get home to shower, get ready and make the trek out to where the shower was, which was about 40 minutes away. I had already used some of my allotted time looking at clothes and shoes for me—and I’m proud to say I stayed strong and didn’t let anything jump into my shopping cart.
I tried to leave my place on time. I really did. But sometimes we simply fail in our efforts. I’m normally a pretty punctual person, but Saturday wasn’t reflective of that. And when you’re running late and trying to get somewhere as quickly as possible, that whole “following the law” thing doesn’t always happen.
But sometimes those blue and red flashing lights do.
Getting pulled over is definitely not an ideal situation ever, and it’s especially not good when you’re already behind schedule. When the cop asked me why I was driving so fast, I told him it had been a stressful week and that I was late to a baby shower in honor of my niece.
And then I decided we needed to talk more.
I asked him if he has kids, and he said he has a young daughter. I mentioned that I hoped having a kid would cause my brother to be a little more mature and less selfish, and the officer told me that from the moment he held his daughter in his arms for the first time, his entire life was changed forever. He said his wife and daughter are by far the two most important things in his life, and he wouldn’t trade one moment with them for anything in the entire world. We chatted a bit more, and he even gave me some quality advice: “There are a lot of clowns out there, so make sure you hold out for the man who won’t trade a moment with you for anything in the world.”
Then he gave me another pointer before letting me go without a ticket: “And slow down on the roads, too.”
I never thought I would say this, but I’m really glad I got pulled over Saturday. I got a pep talk from a guy who probably has a bad reputation on the highways, and I was reminded that people are so much more than the perceptions we have of them. Homeboy really has a genuine heart, and I’m sure a lot of people forget that when he’s simply doing his job by issuing them traffic violation tickets. (Thankfully he skipped me on that one.) It was enlightening to see how much love he has for his wife and daughter—his eyes and smile lit up his entire face when he was talking about them, and I didn’t for a second question anything he said.
It’s easy to get going too fast in the car, and I think it’s just as easy to have a lead foot in life off the road, as well. But I guess if you’re going to have those moments you wouldn’t trade for anything in the world—the ones the officer was talking about—then you can’t really speed through everything. You have to trust that you’ll get to where you need to be when you need to be there. It’s easier to floor it and reach your destination as quickly as possible, but that’s not always the best option. We often need to traffic jams and slower speeds to help us learn and grow.
I hope I’m able to offer my niece wisdom and hope like the cop did for me, because I know she’s going to be something special.
After all, she’s not even born yet and already got me out of a speeding ticket.