june is napping in the pack-n-play at a quality inn off of the highway in mid-tennessee. her legs and arms are curled up under her and her little heart-printed skirted booty is in the air. we’re waiting for my dad to come pick us up — or “rescue renee and baby june!”, as he likes to put it.
last night i pulled onto the bypass and felt a tremor in the car. it faded away so we thought it was the road, but going over a bridge, the car lurched side to side and i started to lose control. luckily the road was empty and i was able to pull to the median before the tire flew off, across the opposite lane of traffic, over the guard-rail and down into a valley.
i got june out of the car right away–i had visions of a passing truck slamming into us, since we were only barely off the road when the tire flew off–and stood in the patchy weeds and grass. june had been sleeping and was confused and grumpy. the sun was setting, but it wasn’t quite dark yet. i swatted mosquitos away from june’s fat baby arms and legs, and used my fingers to comb her long hair from her eyes.
twenty minutes later, the sheriff arrived. he was nicer than i expected a sheriff to be, said that it had happened to him before, went with a flashlight into the valley to search for the tire (no luck). bryan called roadside assistance and i talked with the sheriff about his daughters (six years old and ten) and my daughters. an hour or so later the tow truck guy came, and they loaded up our ridiculous amount of bags–sure, bring the guitar, why not, we have room, i’d said that morning–and drove us to the nearest hotel.
so, someone dropped you off…? the night manager asked, eying the sheriff’s SUV pulling away. the police, bryan said, leaving it at that. i filled in with our story, and the night manager–pale, overweight, balding, like all night managers are–told us a story about a girlfriend in san diego driving round sharp bends in the road and letting go of the wheel and it almost happening to them once too. he gave us the senior citizen discount, feeling sorry i guess for us, with our wailing baby and sweaty faces and too many bags.
june was wild from the adventure and stayed up crazily dancing and babbling late last night, so i’m not surprised she’s taking a good nap right now. my dad should be here soon, and bryan will likely have the car taken care of by the afternoon or morning.
though it was an expensive and irritating detour from our travel plan for the week, i’m thankful that the tire fell off where it did–no cars around, no flipping the vehicle, no wreck or danger to baby june–, that the sheriff was so kind to us, that it happened when it wasn’t raining or cold or the middle of the night, that zu was with my parents so we didn’t have both girls with us, that we’re not too far from precious friends to call if we need help, that my generous in-laws helped us pay for the hotel, that my generous father is coming to get me and baby june so we don’t have to keep her in that hotel all day.
the past couple of days, before all this happened, i had been thinking about how beautiful this season of life is right now. i feel like i’m in the middle of spring, all the buds are flowering, or i’m in the middle of a harvest. the pessimist in me wondered if this was the before to an after--that something would happen that would forever change and darken any happinesses that came after that, that i would never look back on my life and feel as happy as i did at that moment. i have seen those things happen to people, those kinds of losses.
i am so thankful that last night was not one of them; just a minor disappointment, a set-back, an inconvenience. not the loss of anything precious or irreplaceable. how can i not praise God for that, when those who are worth the most to me could have been taken away as easy as that?
But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress. Psalm 59:16