Okay, I’m just going to say it: I’m a hot mess of a mom. And I don’t mean hot as in JLaw or JLo or any of those J people who look effortlessly gorgeous on the daily. I’m saying that if you show up at my house unannounced around noon on a summer day that you will see a very unfiltered Lindsey Light—one without makeup, real clothes, brushed teeth or hair. It’s not pretty. My house won’t be tidy. My kids will be bickering, and my dog will probably be loose in the front yard again. It’s a trainwreck. But I love this trainwreck—it’s my trainwreck. And I eventually get around to proper hygiene and usually get a minute or two to spray some dry shampoo in my hair.
Here is the thing, though. You think I’d have my life together on the rare Wednesday night or weekend they spend with their dad. False. Somehow, I’m even worse. I run around in a frenzy trying to accomplish everything on a long to-do list because everything is easier without kids. When I do get a spare minute, I veg out to some Netflix and try to drown out the deafening silence. My home and heart were made for children; I don’t know how to operate well without them.
So, two weeks ago was the prime example of me trying to do it all in a kid-free weekend and just failing spectacularly. This was significantly more exciting than the previous hundred kid-free weekends, though, as I had, not one, but two near-death experiences. Now, I might be exaggerating a little, but, hey, I’m trying to tell a story. And, honestly, they felt like near-death experiences to me, and I’m the one narrating.
Back to me trying to do it all two weeks ago: Saturday morning, I had a hair appointment at 7:30 a.m. Doesn’t that just make you cringe? 7:30 on a morning without kids. I would have rescheduled, but I was starting to look like Anna from Frozen with all of the grays coming through, and don’t get me started about the hungry caterpillars crawling across my face. I was not in a position to turn down any hair appointment, even at that ungodly hour. I grabbed a coffee, chatted with my hairdresser, went a couple shades darker and brought back the bangs. I left feeling refreshed and pretty attractive, if we’re being totally honest.
Unfortunately, when I returned home, I had more adulting to do—I had to mow my yard. I’m not a particularly outdoorsy person, but when you own a home, I’ve learned that the neighbors appreciate it if your lawn doesn’t look like a jungle. (I’ve also learned that the going rate for my fairly nice sized yard is $30, and that’s a bit out of my budget.) So I hopped on my riding mower and got to work. I had mowed my yard a few times already, and I was extremely proud each time. I figured this time would be no different. I was wrong.
Everything was going smoothly until I decided to mow underneath the swingset. I passed under it twice, moving the swings out of the way as I went. The third time was the charm though—I missed a swing, it caught the steering wheel of my mower, and I watched in what seemed like slow motion as the mower’s front wheels began to lift up and I fell to the ground. I started kicking my legs wildly trying to keep the mower from falling on me. Now, when I tell this story, people usually chuckle and say, “I’m sure your mower turned off at this point because there was no weight on the seat, and that’s a common safety feature these days.” False. Like everything I own and love, my red Toro lawnmower was handed down to me from my father who inherited it from his father. My riding mower is at least twenty years old. Luckily, the mower that didn’t turn off stayed upright and didn’t fall towards me. I was able to get ahold of myself long enough to push it back over and turn it off. I tried to turn it back on to resume mowing the yard, but it started smoking black stuff everywhere. I figured a fire was the last thing I needed, so I shut it off again.
I called my sister and brother-in-law, and my question went a little something like this: “I may or may not have, but definitely did, flip my riding lawn mower over and now it’s smoking—is it going to catch on fire? Also, please don’t tell dad because he’ll never let me mow again.” As I thought was probably the case, the oil simply needed time to run off the engine or something, so I let the mower sit about twenty minutes, and then I hopped back on and finished my yard because, guess what? It wasn’t going to mow itself.
Miracle #1: I fought the lawn mower, and I won. Sure, I had a sore back afterward, but I’m getting old. My back always hurts.
After that, I was fortunate enough to enjoy a baseball game with some visiting family with Florida. The next day was Sunday, so I was happy to go rejoice at church over my newfound lease on life. How little did I know. After the evening service, I accepted a friend’s offer to go to dinner. While I often decline such invitations due to having the kids or my anti-social nature, I accepted this time. See, I had a paper due the next day, and I was going to procrastinate on working on it as long as possible (note to self: tell my students this cautionary tale). After a great dinner with even better friends, I began my drive home.
Less than a mile from my exit, in the far right hand lane, going about seventy miles an hour, I hit a deer. Talk about one of my worst nightmares. The deer hit my hood, windshield, roof, busted out my back passenger window and landed in the grass somewhere. I’m not sure how, but I managed to pull my mangled Ford to the side of the road and call the police and then text my mom, dad, sisters, best friend, and a couple of others.
Miracle #2: My kids weren’t with me. This would have scared them to death, and my daughter’s window was completely knocked out. Their dad had texted me earlier that day to ask if they could come home early, but I had said no because I had that paper to work on.
Miracle #3: I walked away shaken but not broken. I was covered in glass. I shed some tears (because that is my go-to move for every emotion). But I was not injured. Not one scratch. The police told me that had the deer weighed any more, it would have come through the windshield and if the airbags had deployed, then I would have lost control.
I had my car towed to my parents’ house knowing that it was likely totaled. My insurance covered a rental for a few days, so the kids and I got to cruise around in a jeep while I was looking at craigslist ads and used car lots trying to figure out if there was a car that would fit our needs and budget. I was this close to getting a minivan.
Once I was handed a check, my mom and I headed to the car lot with the kids in tow. We drove an SUV, and it was okay. Then I asked to drive a 2011 Nissan Altima that was about 2k more expensive than I was willing to pay. I drove it, and we both fell in love. My dad later asked me if we even checked under the hood, and I laughed—nope! Like I would have even known what to look for. The car was priced at $10,500—I offered the salesperson $8,200 cash. I figured he would barter or laugh in my face. Wrong. He checked with his boss and walked back out and accepted my offer. We had a car! And it was a pretty cool car—Nora calls it our party car because we like to drive around in it with the windows and sunroof down and the music up.
Miracle #4: We found another car, perhaps a better car, that we love and can afford!
Now, I know you all might be thinking I’m a kook—one of those crazy people who doesn’t live in the real world. I’m going to disagree with you—I’m actually pretty grounded and have seen my fair share of hard times. For that reason, I’m not going to tell you that “everything happens for a reason” or that something good always comes out of the difficult seasons. I can’t. But I can tell you this—I believe in everyday miracles because I’ve seen them with my own eyes. And because I just kissed two of them goodnight.