Monthly Archives: August 2010
We left the chiropractor at about 3:10 and our 15-passenger “Big Blue” was at capacity – most everyone had had appointments today so we had to take the whole crew. Heading west on I-70, we noticed a bunch of rubber-neckers pass us on the left which we are completely accustomed to. Folks tend to try to count the heads bouncing around in our van whenever we are out and about. Now, in hindsight, we realize they were probably freaking out over the sparks that must have been flying out from under the van. Little did we know. They waved at us as they passed then changed to the right lane in front of us and wave at us again. I asked my olders, “Who do we know that drives a vehicle like that?” No one knew so I said, “Well, I guess that means we need to catch up and see who’s waving at us!” So I gradually gained on said vehicle and as I did, we realized we were looking at Colorado plates. Hmmm. I quickly figured they knew something that we didn’t because odds were…we didn’t know these folks. (Either that or guys flirting with my girls – wouldn’t be the first time). It’s at this point of the story you need to pay attention to the fact that I’m driving a really big vehicle at about 70 MPH and changing lanes. I CHANGED LANES and came up to the “wavers” and told Lenae, who was in the passenger seat, to roll down her window. As I drove up, we could see this blonde, snowboard-type dude with dreadlocks lowering his shades as he looked in his side mirror at us. Definitely did not know him. We pulled up beside him and he rolled down his window and yelled that we had something dragging from our axel while pointing toward the front! We yelled thanks, gave him thumbs up, slowed down enough to CHANGE LANES again and pull into the right lane behind him. Then, I immediately PULLED OVER to the shoulder and came to a SMOOTH, GRADUAL stop. I had not felt any thumps or bangs. We had only experienced the usual turbulence that comes from driving a Big Bertha vehicle.
Lenae got out first to look under the front of the van while I waited for a break in the traffic. We saw her jaw drop and she came back to her door to announce, “THAT can’t be good.” I finally got out, went around front, looked under, my jaw dropped and Lenae and I discussed how THAT looked like a REALLY important part. Ben joined us, got down on the ground to look then informed us that it definitely looked like something necessary for steering. We decided we were hot enough and climbed back into the A/C. I called Craig to let him know our predicament then AAA. Triple A said they would contact the towing company but could not provide transportation for the 11 kiddos so I had to take care of that. Turned out our “big van” friends were out of town but my mom came to the rescue. Craig called me back to let me know that he had left work and was heading home to get the minivan to come help out. I figured the plan would be for my mom to take the kids in 2 trips to the gas station/Subway at the next exit then Craig could meet up with them there to get everybody home. Craig improved the plan a bit by coming to switch with me so he would be the one to ride in the tow truck to the auto repair and I would hook up with everybody at Subway. Well, before anyone arrived, our air conditioning was quickly turning to simply warm air blowing in and I prayed my children would not dehydrate before help arrived. I could see the next exit from where I sat but didn’t want to chance walking with that many little ones in that heat! Turns out it was around 101° today. BUT, my mom showed up with her minivan and hauled the kids to the Subway in 2 trips. I then found myself thinking I probably should have kept Ben or one of the older girls with me as I was now on the side of the highway by myself. No sooner had that realization popped in my head then a state trooper pulled up and basically kept me company until the tow truck arrived. That is, after I told him our car problems and he thought I meant we were just dragging something we had picked up on the road. He looked under, shock hit his face and he asked I had had trouble steering. I said, “No,” and he was surprised again. He said we should have. He asked about our kids after finding out how many had just shipped off, asked me if we had twins. I told him that was cheating then he told me he had TWO SETS of twins! LOL! I told him he cheated. SO, we talked about chaos management through child training, etc.
So, after God sent this friendly security, the tow truck arrived with a very friendly gent who took one look at the van and said, “Wow! How did you manage to get it off the road? Is everybody okay? Your axel tie rod is broken!” (I think that’s what it’s called – the rod that attaches to the steering shaft and steers the front left wheel). The driver and the officer then exchanged thoughts of amazement that I didn’t have a ridiculous amount of trouble steering it off the road. I said it drove like normal. They had both used the word “lucky” but none of us could deny it – the officer said, among other things, “Someone was looking out for you. You should say a prayer of thanks tonight.” (I told I had already started that prayer!) The driver said, “You’re lucky. No, blessed. You’re very blessed. This should have been bad. Real bad.”
The trooper headed off as Craig arrived. I took off with the “Cream Puff,” our white minivan, and Craig climbed in the tow truck. Craig told me later that the guy at the repair place made many of the same comments and when Craig told him I just steered it off the highway and parked on the shoulder, the man said, “No she didn’t. SOMEONE steered it but there’s no way it was her driving that big vehicle full of kids going that fast. Remember all the lane changes? I had been dragging that rod for awhile as evidenced by the hippy angels waving at us.
I have had a stressful year. No, an ongoing stressful 10 years and have occasionally wondered if God had abandoned me (I know, for shame, we’re not suppose to think that but if we’re honest, we sometimes do), or if He was just letting us deal because we needed these “growth opportunities.” Or maybe I’m just not important enough. Today, God has reminded me that, “See! I will not forget you… I have carved you on the palm of my hand…” Isaiah 49:15
And if there’s anyone out there who doesn’t believe in God, you need to look under the front of my van.
Play with your food,