Motherhood, Marriage and Other Wild Rides

Health, Happiness and the Pursuit of Mommyhood

Car trouble? I should listen to my 5-year-old. March 2, 2010

Late as usual, I was hustling the kids into the car to go to church last Sunday. When I opened the passenger door for my five-year-old Joseph, it scraped right into the curb. Funny, it hadn’t been tight like that the evening before, had it? I didn’t give it another moment of thought. I strapped him in, placed my two-year-old in his car seat and off we went.

As we were driving up the I-5, Joseph said, “Mommy, please stop driving so bumpy.” I smiled and brushed it off: “oh, it’s just the surface of the road.”

Only a little further up the freeway, a helicopter suddenly swept down from the sky. It sounded like it was hovering only 10 or 20 feet overhead. I jerked my head this way and that trying to spot it, while every other car on the road immediately swerved away from me. This must be what criminals in televised car chases feel like. Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do? 

The car began to slow dramatically. My son calmly remarked, “I think we’re out of gas.” No, the indicator read that we were not–and we’ve never run out of gas before, so how did he connect our sudden drop in speed with an empty gas tank? Easy: he’s smarter than I.

Finally, I realized the rear passenger tire had blown out.  It was likely flat before we left the house, causing the door to scrape the curb, and then the bumpy ride. Sigh. I was able to wheel the car to a nearby gas station, and–considering how helpless I apparently am when faced with a vehicle malfunction–was absolutely grateful to have my husband show up and install the spare.

“We should teach you how to do this,” he said. True, yet I’m most disturbed by how I’d ignored countless clues leading up to the event; my attention to detail has left the building. My toddler Noah is amazingly observant. He will remind me if I’ve forgotten my purse or sunglasses; he will tell me where I can find abandoned sippy cups before I start the dishwasher, or advise me to take off my wedding ring before getting in the shower, as is my usual practice.

Maybe I should put him in charge of checking the tire pressure?

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