The crash

Last night I hit a semi truck on the autobahn.

We were on our way home from scouts, my little Mazda 5 loaded down with myself and 5 children–my four + the neighbor boy. Harrison was in the front seat. Jason is in Missouri for a two week TDY so I’m on my own with the kids.

I was driving along, hands at ten o’clock and two o’clock, playing an easy game of “I’m Thinking of an Animal I Hate” with the kids and getting ready to exit the autobahn. I was traveling between 60-65 mph, fully alert and paying attention to my surroundings.

Suddenly I realized that I was coming up on the semi in front of me fast. I signaled and checked my mirrors, but I misguaged his traveling speed. It is illegal in Germany to pull off on the shoulder, and minimum autobahn speed is 40 kmph. There were no hazard lights or break lights to warn me.

He wasn’t even going 20. I found out later my girlfriend had almost hit him as well; he was parked half on half off the road out of his vehicle just moments before I found him. He was barley even moving.

When I realized we were going to hit him I tried to swerve but we smashed into his rear end like a cannon ball, hitting mostly on the right side. we started to spin so I overcorrected and flew all the way to the left, and suddenly I knew I had absolutely no idea how to get us out of it.

It was like being in the middle of the worst roller coaster ride ever, then realizing your cart had disengaged from the track. In that split second I thought of a thousand things. I thought, “Oh crap.” I accepted the fact that we might not make it out of there alive. Three lanes of traffic and the autobahn was busy, I knew we’d be hitting someone else in no time.

I thought of the five children strapped into my car and yelled out a quick, “Kids, Mommy loves you!”

Then I just let go. Hands straight up, I sent up a simple plea to Heaven. “It’s all You,” I said and sat back as we smashed into the left guard rail and started to spin out of control.

It was like we were alone in a parking lot. Not a car in range, we spun until the thought crossed my mind, “You should probably put on the break now.”

So I did and we stopped. At some point I had met my darling air bag, and thankfully Harrison’s held true and stayed put.

I stepped out of the smoking rubble and surveyed what was left of my car, then watched as my five children slowly emerged from the vehicle screaming their little heads off in fright (all except Georgia who was totally calm and collected through the whole thing).

I’ve recently been accused of being too religious on my blog, being a “Bible thumper” if you will. But let me tell you right now, watching my beautiful little children step from the broken remains of our car, completely unscathed and untouched, not a drop of blood or a broken bone, I knew that we were in the arms of angels.

I’m pretty sure that at least two of the three Nephites showed up to rescue us within seconds, I have no idea who those amazing American guys were. They retrieved coats and car seats, put the baby in the stroller and comforted my terrified children. One of the brothers from church was close behind me and pulled off with his blessedly empty minivan and we loaded the kids in while we waited for the German paramedics.

They loaded us into an ambulance while the Rescue Squad surveyed the scene. Standing outside the door, I watched as a group of nine or ten decked out emergency guys slowly made their way to my family. They crowded around the door and looked in at my beautiful, unharmed children with a collective look of awe. Turning to me as a group, there was only one thing for them to say.


So Marcee, you can accuse me of being overly religious all you want, but I certainly hope you find a little religion before you find a semi truck.

I have a lot more to say about this but I need to take a break. It’s too much, this is too fresh, it’s still too raw and horrible and wonderful. I’ll write more about what happened next later.


When Jesus can’t convince them, throw some marshmallows on top.

I’m quickly realizing that Harrison (8) is an easy child. He has never given us a problem at school, preschool, or church, knows how to speak the local language without any difficulties, and does not wet his pants.

I love that kid.

As for the rest of them, I think fate was trying to trick us into this parenting business and yesterday I felt like a big fat failure.

June has been doing great at preschool–until this week. I went in yesterday and the poor teachers were beside themselves with frustration. Having lived with June for over three years now, I know that there are moments when I would rather stick my head in the toilet and give myself a swirlie than deal with all her strength and willpower. One Two Three Try Not To Kill Her seems to be the method that works best around here.

This sudden burst of bad behavior has come as a total shock to her teachers. She’s eating puzzle pieces and throwing the game boards around the room, refusing to listen to anything and wreaking havoc on anyone and everyone. It’s bad, and the language barrier doesn’t help.

The thing is, I know what’s wrong with her, but I have no idea how to fix it.

Last week June came home and started telling me that one of the little girls in her class won’t play with her. She loves this little girl, she wants to be friends with this little girl, but this little girl has suddenly decided that she no longer wants to play with June, she wants to play with someone else.

Honestly, my daughter is three. Do we really have to start in on the little girl drama this early?

I know she’s acting out because she wants this little girl to pay attention to her, but she isn’t old enough to realize that this kind of behavior isn’t going to win her anyone’s friendship. She thinks she’s being funny and silly to the other kids.

I stood there yesterday and listened to the laundry list of her misdeeds, feeling red in the face and embarrassed to have created such a little beast. I could feel the tears stinging the back of my eyes like a thousand hot little needles; can’t these kids do anything right in the German schools? What am I doing wrong here?

I assured the teachers that I understand better than anyone just how difficult she can be, and told them I wouldn’t bring her back. I think they were expecting me to argue with them on her behalf, because they got much nicer once I offered to keep her away (also all the stupid tears probably made them think I’m a big ninny who could use some outside help, which is right). They insisted I bring her back every day, that we would work on it.

After talking with my neighbor (who is smart and wise and wonderful), I think I’ve got a plan. Today June only gets to go to school for two hours. I am taking in a big bag of marshmallows and a small empty container. Every time she is good, she gets a marshmallow in the jar. At the end of the day, she can eat her earned marshmallows in the car.

I also told her this morning that the only person who matters is Jesus, but she looked at me like I’m some kind of idiot who knows nothing about playing princess. I guess that lecture doesn’t hold as much weight when you’re three. Maybe next time I’ll throw Jesus and Santa in together and see if it makes more sense.