A funny thing happened…

I dug this out of my drafts. I’d written it 5 days before Mom died. No wonder it was abandoned. Still, it’s kind of a funny story, and a good illustration (cautionary tale?) of caregiving stress. Enjoy!

SONY DSCA funny thing happened to me on the way to the bus stop the other day.

At least, people TELL me it’s funny. I think they’re only laughing because it didn’t happen to THEM.

Another weekday morning at Casa de Sandwiched: I am sleeping in (again) because I can’t manage to put myself to bed on time, at least partly because I’m so worried about Grandma. Big Sis is stressed about the last day of standardized testing at school. Little Sis is running around, trying to decide who to help first.

After an hour of hurrying and worrying, we finally barrel down the basement stairs and fling open the door to the garage to find a torrential, monsoon-like downpour. And the 9-year-old can’t find her jacket.

It was my last straw. I hollered, “Unacceptable!” and threatened to drive the kids to school only AFTER the proper rain gear had been procured.

Cue the tantrums. For some unfathomable reason, the kids love to ride the school bus.

We were late, I relented, and drove the kids to the bus stop in the pouring rain.

I pulled up and hit the brakes. “Did you finish your oatmeal?” I nagged. We all apologized to one another for our stressy outbursts.

Just then, a flash of yellow.

I reached up to hit the button to open the sliding doors to the kids could get out.

Nothing. An annoying beep. As if to say, “I know what you want, but I’m not going to do that for you.”

Again I hit the button. I’m pounding it now.

The bus is waiting.

“Never mind, guys…get out the front.” I hop out of the car, and let the girls slip past me, dodging raindrops.

I pull on the outside handle of the back door. Still nothing.

I turn back to the interior of the open driver’s door, and study the panel of buttons. Is one set so that the back doors won’t slide open?

Something isn’t right. The world begins to move in slow motion…

I realize that the car door is closer to me. I react by stepping back. Then again.

The car is moving!

Oh no. The car isn’t in park!

I consider jumping in the open door, but before I can finish the thought, the car is already moving too fast. I step back, before the door can take me out. Getting hit by my own car would be STUPID.

I look up as I realize that I’m not going to be able to stop this car. The neighbor’s brand new SUV, complete with vanity plates, is parked about five car-lengths directly behind me.

Now four. Three?

I pull on the driver side door. Somehow (my sister swears it was angels), the car turns ever so slightly. Just enough that it misses the car.

I let go, and let God.

The car careens backward. The minivan lurches up, over the curb, and clips a different neighbor’s mailbox. It comes to rest on the hill in front of the neighbor’s house.

My hands have flown up to my head, which are trying to keep my head from exploding in disbelief. Now I am a cartoon.

The bus has pulled away. The other parents turn to me, in stunned disbelief. They ask if I’m okay. Miraculously, I am—though thoroughly shaken.

Pro tip: Always put your car in park before getting out of the car.

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About Kathleen

Kathleen Heuer is a serial arts advocate and volunteer. She is the mom of two beautiful girls, wife to a brilliant nuclear engineer, and referee between her golden retriever and her hissy 18-year-old cat. For more, go to http://about.me/kathleendheuer.
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