Child-like Faith

While I was pregnant with Ellie, I heard countless cliches about pregnancy and parenting, and some of them hit home a little more than others.  This week, while Ellie was throwing a fit because I’d taken something away from her, I was reminded of this particular bit of insight from some of our church family: “Being a parent gives you a whole new perspective on God’s love for us.  It gets you a little bit closer to fully understanding it.”

Once I remembered our friend saying that, I made a list of the other times it clicked with me that day alone and I’m basing this post on said list.  I can only imagine how long it would’ve been if I had been keeping a list from the beginning!

“I don’t want you to hurt yourself!”

Ellie spends the majority of her day actively trying to kill herself by seeking light sockets in which to stick her itty bitty baby fingers and attempting to swallow items that pose as a choke hazard.  You know, typical baby stuff.  She’s also really good at bypassing every single toy she owns and, instead, searching for cleaning products that I thought were out of her reach.  On this particular day, she proudly presented me with her latest hazardous treasure (I’m racking my brain trying to remember what it was and it’s just not coming to me!) and I immediately snatched it up.  Her mouth, which had previously formed a huge grin, displaying her bottom two teeth, quickly contorted into a full blown chin-quivering frown accompanied by furrowed brows and plenty of tears.  “I don’t want you to hurt yourself!” I said, as I picked her up to comfort her.
It was then that the first parallel formed for me.  She was so proud and excited about what she had in her hand, I thought, but it’s because she doesn’t see the danger that it causes.  She was just happy to have it in the moment and doesn’t understand that I’m just trying to protect her from what I know will happen.
Are we not the same way as adult Christians from time-to-time?  We get so angry and disappointed when something we wanted just doesn’t work out, or we just assume God wasn’t listening to us in the first place.  Jobs fall through, relationships fail or never happen to begin with, so on & so forth.  Instead of trying to see it from His perspective -that He was protecting us- we, too, pout like toddlers. See where I’m going with this?

“I’m right here!”

Now that she’s nearly 9-months-old, separation anxiety has set in full force with sweet Ellie.  Sometimes, I leave her in her room with the baby gate up in the doorway so she’ll stay put  (like I said, the kid thinks of a thousand new and exciting ways to put herself in harms way every. single. day).  I’m out of the room long enough to go get a sippy cup or grab a ringing phone and she can still see me, but that doesn’t stop her from screaming at the baby gate as if she’s been abandoned in the wilderness to fend for herself.  “I’m right here! I haven’t left you, you’re alright!”
As soon as the words leave my mouth, I’m almost always reminded of Deuteronomy 31:6, ” So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”
I can’t really get frustrated with my child for screaming at the top of her lungs because she thinks I’ve left her when I do the same thing with God, now can I?  Multiple times just in the last year, I’ve found myself feeling as though God had abandoned me.  It felt like I was in this on my own and He’d just left me to drown, when in reality, I have just been throwing a tantrum at my metaphorical baby gate.  He hasn’t, even for a second, left me and I am, in fact, alright.

“I’ve got you!”

You know how I said that Ellie is forever putting herself in harm’s way?  Well, sometimes I’m not quick enough to stop the inevitable from happening.  Earlier tonight, I was bathing her in the sink and she decided to put her face in the water to blow bubbles, but it backfired and ended up going up her nose instead.  This is a mild example.  A better example would probably be one of the many times she’s rolled off the bed or put all of her weight on something flimsy and fallen in the floor.  I may have told her no a thousand times, but when she falls on time 1,001, I’m there to pick her up when she’s bawling her eyes out and hurting from what is basically a self-inflicted injury, and I tell her, “I’ve got you!  It’s going to be okay.”

I don’t think that one needs any explanation.

If I really thought about it or kept this list longer than one day, I’m sure I could come up with a million other comparisons between parenting Ellie and God’s love for us as our Father.  The most important lesson I’ve learned in being a mama, however, is a little different.  I’ve learned that I need to be more like Ellie.  She might get a little impatient with her meals, but she knows I’m going to provide them.  She crawls to me when she’s hurt because she knows I’ll take care of her.  She wants nothing more than to be with me simply because she loves me.  I’ve said in a previous blog that I am her comfort & her life source, and she is aware of both of those things.  It’s my hope that I can demonstrate these same behaviors in my relationship with God, and everyday I’m learning.  My 8 month old is the greatest teacher when it comes to child-like faith.

Ghosts of Boyfriends Past

A couple months back, I ran into my ex’s mother, the woman I assumed would one day be my mother-in-law, with my  daughter in tow.  Even though I’d seen her once or twice around town while I was still pregnant, something about Ellie looking at her with carbon copies of Phillip’s eyes made this interaction different than the others.  I left the store that day feeling nostalgic in a very bittersweet way.

Her son and I were together for 4 years throughout high school and the beginning of college.  He was my first love and I sincerely believed we would get married someday… until I learned he had the ring I wanted hidden in his room and I guess the weight of the impending question set in with me.  Our relationship was one of those that was awesome when things were good, but toxic when they weren’t which was more often than not.  Allow me to quote Eminem in describing it as, “That’s what happens when a tornado meets a volcano.”

I won’t bash him, but I won’t romanticize our teenage love affair either.  The good did not outweigh the bad.  I’m referring to both of us when I say that there was a lot of negativity along the way.  Emotional (occasionally, physical) abuse, punching of steering wheels after a fight, screaming, yelling, tears, and a couple of break ups thrown in for good measure made up our time together.  We were jealous, controlling, and overall, immature. I’ll admit, part of the appeal of our relationship was that it was never boring.  I think I was addicted to the chaos in the beginning, and over time, I wanted it to work so badly that I just ignored all of the red flags along the way. However, none of those things were a foundation on which I wanted to build a marriage, and it was when I started picturing our future together without my rose colored glasses that I realized we didn’t really have a future.

We were not good for each other and it took me a while to realize that.  Judging by the posts I see everyday on social media, there are plenty of other women out there struggling with the same relationship problems, which is why I felt compelled to write this blog.

It’s a little sad that someone who was such a major part of my past is now a stranger to me, sure, but I love my life now.  I never imagined myself being happy with anyone else while we were still together even when things were terrible simply because I was afraid of the unknown.  Did we love each other?  I can’t speak for him, but I did, absolutely.  Was it the kind of love that endures a lifetime?  No, and I never would have been able to experience the kind that does if I hadn’t been brave enough to leave.

Despite knowing we weren’t right for each other even back then, I can remember saying to him more than once that the idea of one day running into him in public with another man’s baby broke my heart.  But when that actually happened on Friday (given, it was his mom, not him), it was fine.  I’m doing well, his mom says he’s doing well and has a family of his own, and I can’t imagine that would’ve been the case for either of us if we had stayed together.

Looking back on our time together, I can see everything so clearly and I’m happy to say I don’t recognize the person I was back then.   As badly as I wanted it to work with him at the time, I’m glad that it didn’t.  My life now is everything I hoped it would be and I genuinely hope the same for him.  Life is long and complicated with a lot of unexpected twists and turns along the way, and emotions & memories tend to go hand-in-hand, but sometimes you’ve got to see things for what they are instead of what you want them to be.

Forcing pieces to fit never made a pretty puzzle and relationships, I’ve found, are the same way.  I try not to draw comparisons between my marriage and that relationship, but I will say that God’s plan for my love life has gone much more smoothly than my own, which isn’t really all that surprising.  Like I said before, I was addicted to the chaos because I confused drama with passion, but Phillip is easy to love.  Our relationship is calm, not to be confused with boring, and I wish I could’ve understood that at 17 just as badly as I wish I could get that through to the women on social media who are forever back and forth with boyfriends because of history.

I left the store wondering what my 16-year-old self would have thought about my run-in in the baby food aisle and all that’s happened in between.

Life’s weird, y’all. But hindsight is 20/20.

 

 

 

I am Mama, Hear Me Roar

I’ve been 100% open and honest about the challenges and less than pleasant parts of motherhood,  so I felt it was only fair to be equally as transparent about the good stuff.  I know, I know, you read all the flowery stuff on your Facebook newsfeed, but I mean there is a reason people continue to procreate.

If you’ve not read my other posts, the first few months were rough, and not in a normal newborn/first time mom kind of way.  She had a tongue tie which made nursing all but impossible, we learned when she was around 4 months old that she has reflux, and she was, still is, a high needs baby.  Everyone told us that it would get easier, that we would eventually wish that time would slow down.  When she screamed all day and stayed up all night, I called those people liars (that’s the G-rated version of what I called them anyway) but they ended up being right.

My sweet Ellie is 7 months old now and despite all the hard times, I really do wish I could put time in slow motion because it’s all going by so quickly!  I’ve grown to truly, madly, deeply love being her mother.  Nothing else I do in life will ever be as meaningful as caring for and raising my tiny human, and I think that has finally started to sink in with me.

Everyone says that you can’t imagine the love you have for a child until you experience it for yourself, and while it’s a massive cliche, it’s completely true.  I was drinking my morning coffee in her bedroom floor with her a few days ago, watching her play, and I was in awe of what her little hands were capable of doing.  She has gone from being my 8lb 15oz newborn to being this inquisitive little creature who crawls and uses her tiny hands with impressive dexterity to turn the pages in her books and inspect whatever she can reach.  She noticed me watching her, looked up at me and smiled before crawling up into my lap and jabbering.

She’s mastered dada and recently learned how to blow raspberries -she’s especially fond of the noise she can make by blowing onto hard surfaces which she thinks is hilarious- but the rest of the time she babbles like we’re having a conversation.  Her little eyebrows furrow and raise as though she’s experiencing a thousand different emotions during her monologue, and I can’t wait for the day that we can have a real conversation.  Nothing I’ve ever done has ever felt as fulfilling as raising her, especially when I have had the gift of watching her learn and grow over the last 7 months.

The world is still brand new to her and I get to experience everything through her eyes.  She views everything with such wonder and excitement that I can’t help but marvel at her.  The love I have for this child is too intense for words.  I sneak into her room at night just to watch her sleep and, in the morning, I make a fool of myself just to see her laugh.  Her eyes crinkle up, dimples form in her cheeks, her mouth opens wide enough to expose her two bottom teeth, and she buries her face in whatever is closest because she can’t control her laughter.  And my heart swells.  And I know that I’m doing something right because she’s thriving and happy, which makes me thriving and happy.

Ellie is beautiful and smart.  She’s curious, funny, adventurous, bubbly, social, and sweet.  She’s independent, sassy, and expressive.  She’s a Texas-sized blessing in a petite little package, better than any baby I could’ve ever dreamed up, and God knew exactly what He was doing when he put us together.

She is a ton of work –a full time, unpaid, no days off or vacations ever, kind of job, but the benefits are worth it.  I am the center of her entire world, and the smile she gives me over the edge of her crib when she wakes up in the morning lets me know it.  I am her comfort, I am her life source, I am her caregiver.  I’m a milk making, pattycaking, lullaby singing, bedtime story reading, peek-a-boo playing superwoman.  I am Mama, hear me roar!

 

Say Say Oh Playmate

“Some women pray for their daughters to marry good husbands. I pray that my girls will find girlfriends half as loyal and true as the Ya-Yas.”
― Rebecca Wells, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

In 1996, a wire haired dachshund named Mitzy changed my life.  My dad had gotten her for me from the local shelter when I was insanely sick as a way to make me feel better. The problem was, the saying ‘have legs, will travel’ definitely applied in this situation because she ran away constantly.  Fed up with having to go back to the shelter on a regular basis because animal control had picked up the little fugitive again, my parents suggested that I give her to the little girl whose house Mitzy had chosen as a regular hideaway.

“This little girl has a fenced in back yard.  Her mama said she’s been outside playing with her all day, maybe we should give Mitzy to her.”

I thought it was a complete injustice because Mitzy was supposed to be my dog.  I didn’t give a rip if that little girl had a fenced in back yard.  Good for her, what does that have to do with me?  I thought to myself.  After being told that I was free to visit whenever I wanted and it was explained to me that the fence would keep Mitzy from potentially being hit or taken into the Humane Society for the umpteenth time, I agreed.  And I immediately took the family up on their offer to  visit Mitzy, which is when my best friend, Tabi, came into the picture.

As it turns out, the fence did little to suppress Mitzy’s gypsy soul because she ran away from their house too and never returned, which devastated her dad but had no effect whatsoever on our friendship.  Because of that awful little dog, she and I became best friends instantly and for the next several years we practically lived at each others houses.  We were nearly polar opposites, but we got along like siblings.  She was very athletic and I painted my nails to match her softball team’s colors.  I played with Barbies, she collected them and tortured me by keeping them in their boxes.  I insisted on arts & crafts, and her mom banned those sorts of things because she knew we’d ruin the carpet. She tanned easily, I fried like bacon, which leads me to my first anecdote.

Like all southern mamas (and probably moms everywhere, I can only speak for those in KY), her mother told us to ‘quit running in and out’ and forced us to pick one or the other.  As I said before, Tabi was very athletic and never endured a sunburn, but I agreed to play outside anyway because she had a trampoline and my mom would never let me have one because I was accident prone and she’d seen a kid break his arm on one when I was still in diapers.  (Honestly, her swing-set was way more dangerous.  The only time I ever got close to having a swing level with the top of a swing set was at her house.  I stopped trying to do that because the chains broke and I hit the ground with a solid thud that knocked the breath out of me.  Thinking I was dying, she took off running to her house screaming, “Daddy!  Daddy!  Manda’s hurt!”  I swear, if ever a child came close to being as clumsy as Eugene from Hey! Arnold, it was me.) We spent hours on that trampoline competing to see who could jump higher.  Mom didn’t know until recently that we hosed it down with water because we thought it was more fun that way and it kept us cool.  No one ever got hurt, though Tabi did end up nearly falling off at one point; her bathing suit strap caught on the springs on the way down and kind of yo-yo’d her, but she never actually hit the ground!  On one occasion, I fell asleep on that trampoline… in the middle of the day, in the middle of the summer, and she never woke me up.   Once marshmallow white, I became Mattel logo red and experienced sun poison for the very first time in my life.  My lips quadrupled in size and my mom slathered me in aloe for days after that.  Fear not, reader, Tabi got hers.

My brother used to race motorcycles in the AMA Midsouth series, which just means he raced in the woods instead of on a motocross track, pretty much every weekend and my dearest Tank (if you’ve not read my older posts, my iPhone used to correct Tabi to Tank and it stuck) would tag along to keep me company.  As long as we didn’t wander too far, my mom let us explore the woods to keep ourselves entertained, and during a race when the weather was just starting to turn cool, we discovered a little creek.  While exploring the bank of the creek, we noticed that it narrowed a bit and there was a hill on the opposite side we wanted to climb.  Slightly taller than me at the time, I convinced Tabi that if she got a running start, she could probably make it across and we could explore some more.  Unfortunately for Tabi, she listened to me.  In my defense, she did make it across, but she lost her balance and windmilled her arms for a few seconds before landing in the middle of the creek like she was about to make a snow angel.  Like I said before, it was starting to get a little chilly out so she needed to change clothes, but didn’t have any with her since my mom didn’t expect us to get wet.  Luckily (or unluckily, depending on how you look at it) for Tabi, my mom had some garbage bags full of clothes to be donated to Goodwill in the trunk of her car, and Tabi had to sport a teddy bear sweater and green stretch pants for the rest of the day.  I like to think it was the universe paying her back for my potential case of skin cancer later in life.

So much of my childhood was spent with the girl I still call my best friend that I can, and likely will in future posts, go on and on with stories like these. Tabi was and still is like a sister to me; her family is my family and vice versa.  We were in each others weddings.  If

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Say say oh playmate, come out & play with me…

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…& we’ll be jolly friends forevermore

not for her, I may not have met Phillip because it was her idea to go out that night.  She was there the night he proposed and she was one of the first people I told when I found out I was pregnant.  She keeps Ellie for me on a regular basis and she gets it when I don’t immediately respond to texts because she, too, is busy raising a tiny human.

Last week after I went to pick Ellie up from her house following an out of town meeting, we went to eat lunch together along with our munchkins.  When we were getting ready to leave, Tabi told her little boy to give Ellie a hug bye; Ellie grabbed his face with both hands and gave him a slobbery kiss.  Later that day, I was telling my mom about it and how precious it was and she mentioned how she loves watching as the generations continue, and it really put things into perspective for me.

I don’t know many people who are able to say that they even speak to their childhood best friends, but I’m blessed enough that our kids adore each other and will grow up together.  I’m so blessed that I can lean on her for prayer or just someone to listen to me rant about the same things I’ve been ranting about since the ’90s.  She’s my brutally honest voice of reason when I need it (she couldn’t lie to me if she tried, the girl doesn’t have a poker face, bless her) but she listens without judgement.  Out of all I’ve been given in life, my best friend is one of my biggest (and oldest!) blessings, and I am just so very grateful for her.

And I guess I should also be grateful for the Amazing Disappearing Mitzy: official sponsor of a 20 year friendship.

 

Nightmares

Last night was a long night, and unlike months past, it had nothing to do with the little one refusing sleep.  Around 4AM, I woke up nearly in tears because of the nightmare I’d just had.  It was so vivid and realistic that I’m positive this one is going to haunt me for a few days, if not longer.  This was not like nightmares of my childhood that often involved monsters or leprechauns (long story, basically I saw the movie Leprechaun at a very early age and not gonna lie, I still have a little bit of an irrational fear of the creatures because of that creepy, low-budget movie) after which I could wake up and tell myself it wasn’t real.  This one was terrifying because it was filled with things that can and have happened.

This is the second dream in a week in which I was terminally ill.  It started a few days ago with a dream that I was at a wedding and suddenly couldn’t see or walk straight for no apparent reason, and though it was never directly stated, it was implied that I was not well.  In last night’s dream, similarly, I had vision issues but I was also having serious difficulty talking and no one could tell me why.  Phillip drove me from doctor to doctor and not a single one had an answer for my sudden loss of motor skills.  He helped me onto and off of multiple elevators in various hospitals, tests were run, symptoms were noted, but nothing got better.  Towards the end of the dream, I strained to say to the doctor seeing me, “Please help me.  I don’t want to die.”

While en route to the last appointment, there was a bombing locally and we didn’t have Ellie (our daughter) with us so I instantly started to panic because we were not safe and I wasn’t sure she was either.  I didn’t know where she was, who was watching her, and if they had been affected by the bombing.  People were dying all around, violence ensued and I was still dying with no way to protect her from any of it.

Fast forward to real life:
I kept thinking about this terrible dream all morning including while I watched her play.  She is so innocent and blissfully unaware of the horrific realities of the world around her, and it crushes me that I won’t be able to protect her from it forever.  The kid was not even 24 hours old yet, and the Dallas shooting was plastered all over every news station imaginable as I ate my breakfast from the hospital bed.  The NY Times called it, “…the deadliest [attack] for law enforcement officers in the United States since Sept. 11, 2001.”

When I look back on 2016, I don’t have a lot of fond memories aside from the birth of my daughter.  The year was peppered with mass shootings, violence, natural disasters, and division nationwide on virtually every major issue.  North Korea tested nuclear weapons, ISIS still exists, and racial tension still exists. I am terrified of the world in which my daughter will grow up and all that she will experience along the way.

Just in the last week, there was a major fire in the Smoky Mountains leaving the death toll (so far) at 14 with 130 injured and 17,000 acres of some of the most beautiful scenery I’ve ever seen were destroyed in a fire they believe was man-made.  Her dad & I hiked through those mountains on our honeymoon and she will never be able to see them the way we did, even if the trees were replanted today.  There couldn’t be a more appropriate symbol for 2016 than that.

I don’t want her to live a life full of fear, sorrow, and suffering.  I want the world to be a better place for her, one that allows me to sleep at night knowing that she’s safe.  My only hope is to raise a child who is genuinely good, who not only cares about the world around her, but does something to change it for the better.

My life was simpler when my nightmares stayed tucked away in my imagination.

 

The 12 Hour Date

Every year, I retell the story of how Phillip & I met because I’m still amazed after 5 years at the fate of it all.  It’s a good story, but it’s been told.  What hasn’t been told is the story of our first date.

I can remember asking my mom when I was little how you are supposed to know when you meet The One.  I don’t think she ever gave me a direct answer aside from, “You just know.”

Her answer was not very specific but the meaning behind it, much like the love you experience for your child,  never really sank in with me until I was much older and experienced it myself after finishing up my 12-hour first date with Mr. Cooper.  There hasn’t been a single day since we met that Phillip & I haven’t spoken, and that includes the week after we met leading up to our first date.  Every day, I found myself looking forward to talking to him and I can still remember how my heart jumped each time my phone dinged because I hoped it was him.  I had just gotten out of a 4-year relationship, so the prospect of something new was equal parts exciting and terrifying, and I had a lot of nerves about that first date.  Thankfully, it went far better than I ever could have anticipated.

The date started with us going to eat Chinese food because earlier in the week he had asked me what my favorite food was.  When I say it’s Chinese, I mean that I kept the lights on at my favorite buffet, Imperial Garden, for a couple of years with my regular trips for cashew chicken takeout.  I had joked with my best friend’s mom, “That’s it!  I’m going to marry him!” based entirely on him saying that he, too, loved Chinese food.  However, the plan was to eat Hibachi (which I know isn’t Chinese, but it still falls into the Asian category) and that plan quickly went awry.  Folks, this was the end of July in Kentucky.  If you’ve never been here, know that it gets hotter than the hinges on the gates of Hell in the summer here and the humidity only makes it more miserable.  You combine that with the heat off of the hibachi grill and you end up with a recipe for the sweatiest first date known to man.  Approximately 5 seconds after entering the doors, we decided to go next door for some cashew chicken & general tso’s instead.  We ate, we talked, we laughed, and I loved every minute of it.

When we finished, he paid like a gentleman and we went back to my house for movies and more talking.  He showed up to my house promptly at 6 that Friday and that date didn’t end until 6 the next morning.  Now, I know what you’re thinking, but there was no walk of shame happening.  In fact, nothing physical happened at all aside from a goodbye kiss at the very end.  Instead, we talked for half a day and would’ve kept going had it not been so late/early.  It was after he’d left that I realized the length of the date, we hadn’t run out of things to talk about and I hadn’t been bored even for a second.  Nothing was forced, nothing was awkward, and I’d had a genuinely good time with a genuinely good guy who had a charming smile and a great sense of humor.

Speaking of humor, mine is either loved or people don’t get it at all.  Phillip laughed at my jokes and didn’t look at me as though I might be a little off in the head. He appreciated my taste in music, though he admitted he was surprised by it because apparently I look like a Billboard Top 40 kind of gal and he was impressed when I recognized his Eric Clapton references.  I liked the new music he introduced me to, but the fact that everything was new wasn’t even the most appealing part of this blossoming relationship, it’s that it all felt old like the perfectly worn in sweatshirt we all reach for on lazy Saturdays. And I knew.

I originally wanted to detail every moment of our first date, but I realized in typing everything that the details aren’t important.  When I look back on that time, I remember some of the stuff we said, that we played Super Nintendo, and that he introduced me to Edward Sharp  & the Magnetic Zeros, sure.  I remember what we wore and how his cologne smelled.  I remember the lingering feeling of the  goodbye kiss on my lips too, but what stands out to me the most was the ease of it all.  It felt like we’d known each other all along and I understood what my mom had told me when I was little.  I just knew.  I was able to be myself around him and we just clicked.  He got my references, I laughed at his jokes, we filled each other in on the parts of each others lives we had missed and it was like we just picked up where we left off even though that was the beginning.  When he left that morning, I just had this overwhelming sense that it would work, and I was right.  That 12 hour date  led to 3 years of marriage (and counting!) and a 4 month old baby with his eyes.  Has it been easy?  Not always.  But I wouldn’t dream of sharing this life with anyone else, because even after all this time, he’s my best friend, my other half, and I’m so so glad I agreed to that first date.

 

The Escort

If you read the title of this post and assumed you’d be reading about a woman who ‘dates’ men for money, you’re sadly mistaken, my friend.  This is the Ford kind and I promise this story is better!  When I was little, my mom drove a gold-ish Ford Escort and good grief at the stories that came from it!  This thing was the biggest lemon ever made, not in the sense that it didn’t run properly -that wasn’t the problem- rather, it seemed to be a magnet for destruction.

It all began one afternoon in the dead of winter when I was playing in the living room.  I heard something crack and when I looked out the front window (which was a straight shot to our driveway), I saw a massive limb drop out of the tree in the front yard and onto my mom’s trunk.  I swear it was like something out of an insurance commercial!  My mom thought I was joking when I told her what happened, told me it wasn’t funny, and then promptly realized I was being serious when she saw the limb and her fresh dent.  It only went downhill from there.

Shortly after the tree limb incident, my mom had to stop by the store to pick up some things for a church potluck we were headed to, so my cousin, my brother, and I waited in the car.  Evidently, the lady  in the minivan a few parking spots down didn’t see us, because she rammed right into us when she backed up; then she pulled forward, backed up and hit us again.  She did this several times before she realized she was hitting a car full of screaming children and finally stopped.  Maybe it’s the flawed memory of an 8-year-old, but I remember the wheels coming off the ground on the side she hit every time she hit it, accompanied by our screams and flailing arms.  It went a little like this: *boom* “AHHH!” *pause* *boom* “AHHH!” so on and so forth, which was terrifying at the time but hilarious looking back on it now.

Evidently, the impact from the woman in the minivan wreaked havoc on the back windshield, because even after the damage from her backing into us several times had been repaired, it didn’t stop.  I was not present for this particular incident, but my mom was about to put my brother in his car seat when she opened and closed one of the doors, and the back glass absolutely shattered.  We were still finding glass shards in the back seat well after it had been repaired, and the repair only led to more problems.

The back glass had these little strips of tape looking stuff that attached to the glass and the body of the  car when my mom got it back from that repair.  I’m not sure that it really served any purpose, but when they peeled it off, the strips took the paint with it.  I wish I could say that was the end of the bad luck streak, but that is not the case.  After that, a woman that my mom worked with hit the front end of the car, and not long after that (or was it before?) my mom rear ended my dad’s truck on the way back from the lake one Memorial Day weekend.  On that specific occasion, I had been in my dad’s truck with him and my brother, who was maybe 4 at the time, was with her. She had told him not to get out of the car while they assessed the damage.  Did he listen? No.  Instead, he somehow managed to slam his thumb in the door.  He lost a thumb nail, my dad’s bumper crumbled like a pop can, but the Escort was still completely in tact, which is ironic since it was the only accident during which mom had actually been behind the wheel.  The cherry on top of the crap sundae was when the cassette player ate my mom’s favorite Beach Boys cassette.  No more Escort jam sessions to Help Me Rhonda. Then it was like something in her snapped and she just didn’t care anymore.

The escort had been her first brand new car, but as you can tell, it wasn’t really a pleasant experience.  So after everything I just mentioned, mom decided instead to have fun with it.  We raced people in sports cars at red lights and would usually win… not that they were aware we were racing, but still!  Every time the opportunity presented itself, we jumped railroad tracks and usually got a decent amount of air.  I mean, it didn’t really matter what we did, the Escort was just cursed.  She wasn’t even behind the wheel for the majority of the accidents!  If this car was a person, it would be Eugene from  Hey Arnold! and that’s putting it lightly.

I sometimes wonder what happened to that car and if the next owner had terrible luck with it too.

Ah, memories.