Barbie dolls line the wine holder—a doll in each individual wine slot.
“Kolby, what’s going on with your dollies? I count about nine blond heads, “Why are they all in the wine holder? It’s kind of creepy.”
“Mommy they’re dead. That’s their coffin,” my preschooler replies.
“They got hit by a car and they died,” she chirps, unmindful of my startled face.
Oh Boy. I sit down and cuddle her close. “Let’s talk about dyeing, ok baby?”
Big eyes probe mine; tiny hands cup my face and questions tumble out, so big for such a little girl.
I guess she overheard us talking.
Maybe this is a gift, but it’s a conversation I’d rather have because her pet goldfish died, not because it was almost us.
It’s Saturday night and Pacific Coast Highway in Downtown Laguna is jammed—the rhythmic thump of drums spill from packed clubs, girls giggle, catcalls fly, and wave’s crash in the distance.
With the window open, I point and search for just the right joint to stop at and grab an appetizer to cap off our date night. We want good food—foodie food—with flavor and intensity
“There,” I pointed, “let’s stop there at Mozambique.” I know the food won’t disappoint.
Tim glances over at the hopping restaurant I gesture to, and pulls off PCH .
But he swerves to the left instead of the right and makes an abrupt turn onto the ocean side of the street.
“Honey, what are you doing? Now we have to cross PCH.”
Tim shrugs, “If it makes you feel better we can walk back to the light.”
So, we hike up a block to the light, push the walk button, wait for the light to change and step out into the street.
My heels catch a pothole and I hold on to Tim tight for balance.
Then I hear the roar—a car accelerates fast. Pedal to the medal, tires flying down the hill gaining speed from the steep incline of the cliff.
It’s so dark. Lights blur my eyes—the headlights of the car descend on us. It’s like an avalanche. There’s nowhere to go.
I picture my body hitting the windshield. It’s going to hurt.
Then the push.
Tim yells and shoves me as hard as he can—still within range of getting hit, but more likely to hit the edge of the car, bounce and crack my noggin rather than go under.
My legs wobble. I fight not to fall.
Then the shrill honk of a car trying to warn the oblivious driver, blaring sound, tires screech.
The car slams on the brakes, from 70mph to stop.
And right on top of us, the car reels back, like an attacking animal reigned in. We jump out of the way as the front bumper brushes my legs.
I wave my hands around and scream “You Jackwaggon. “
(I might have said another bad word too)
I’m full of piss and vinegar. I want a fight. I want to sink my heels deep into her flashy red sports car and make her pay. I want justice.
The driver waves her hand at us and takes off. No apology. Nothing.
I wonder if she’s grateful she won’t serve time for vehicular manslaughter?
Tim takes my hand and leads me to the other side.
“Are you ok? I didn’t know how to protect you.” His voice is raspy and thick.
I wrap myself like a child into his chest; gulp in familiar smell, big hands smooth my hair, and he whispers, “its ok.”
Then the tears come—relief, shock, and finally thankfulness.
Thank you Lord.
Thank you to the angel in the car who laid on the horn like a lighthouse keeper warning a ship about to hit the rocks. You are our hero!
To my husband, who tossed me (mostly) out of the way in the sweetest attempt to save my legs, I adore you forever.
I’ve had some close calls with danger, but nothing like this one.
Not both of us together. Not leaving all of my kids without a mom and a dad.
I’ve thought about it over the last week. I’ve prayed and considered and reflected on our near brush with death or dismemberment, at the very least.
And I’m grateful I don’t have any unsettled matters—at least that I’m aware of.
I’m glad I say “I love you” and kiss my kids and hubby every chance I get.
I’m glad I get to do what I love.
And I trust my heart is right with God.
Not perfect, not even close, but right in the sense that I’m desperate to know him more and at peace that I will join him.
Dying isn’t the scariest thought for me these days—even scarier is living badly.
I don’t want to be so caught up in the rat race that I forget to follow my dreams or live a half-life of complacency.
I don’t want to take any of this for granted.
I want to know that what I do, as a mother, as a wife, and as a writer makes a difference in the Kingdom of God.
I want you to laugh and cry and think differently about a God who pursues you to the ends of the earth and loves you lavishly.
So, if I haven’t told you in a while, THANK YOU. Thank you for being you! Thanks for joining me and engaging with me and journeying with me.
Thanks for taking the time to read these words. Thanks for making this life of mine rich and full of countless blessings.
And if I’ve pissed you off recently, let me know.
I can grovel.
We never know when our time is up.
And I sure am glad I get to have the dead Barbie conversation with my little girl and not someone else. No matter how awkward and hard it was.
What if it was your last day? What would you do differently?