Yesterday morning, we were all packed up and on our way to the swimming pool, when something inside our car went "pop" and then the engine starting making a low hissing roar whilst smoke poured in from goodness knows where.
We were very lucky to be somewhere safe to just pull in and unload everyone. The smoke and noise stopped as soon as the engine cut, so us five girls sat under a big tree whilst Martin poked around a bit to try to see if he could find a fixable problem to reassure us with. I started packing coats and sunhats and water bottles into bags so that I could get the girls home by bus.
Two buses, and £9 poorer, we got back safe and sound. Martin got the car to a garage, where they told him they couldn't tell him anything until they took it apart, and he headed off to work on foot (just over half an hour's walk).
Our trip was unexpectedly nice, even. Rowan sat next to a sweet little old lady on the first bus, who fussed over how lovely she was and answered her seriously when she chattered. She asked whether the girls were not at school today, and when I replied that they are home educated she said, "how wonderful!" which was very refreshing. In town a lady stopped us to say that she loved the sling, and that it was nice to see a parent looking pleased to be with their children. At that point I was feeling more hot and tired than happy, so the compliment was much appreciated. On the second bus, we were even helped off with our armful of bags. These are the moments when I think that life is good and people are kind, and that it will all be OK.
Today brought mixed news. The car isn't fixable without taking the entire front end apart to get at the problem, so that isn't a possibility. Fortunately but somewhat nervewrackingly, it is actually still drivable in its current state - only it needs the water topping up every half an hour or so. This leaves us with a horrendous decision, safety wise; take out roadside assistance and drive very carefully, or ditch the car and take the train for our two rapidly approaching holidays carrying enough stuff for six people AND changing trains at Birmingham without losing anyone. Ugh.
I'm leaning towards thinking the car is do-able, though it makes me nervous as heck. We were lucky not to have ended up with nowhere to stop the first time - but on the other hand the garage were very reassuring about the engine surviving as long as the water is refilled regularly. I don't know enough about cars to either doubt or trust that particular advice!
And on to today. Yesterday was frustrating and stressful and caused a lot of anxiety for me. It got better, but I think the morning was sufficiently dramatic that all of the children were a bit shaken. Anyway, I'm grasping at straws for an excuse as to why they have fought all morning and then Jenna has screamed at me most of the afternoon. At one point I felt so much like slapping her I shut myself in the bathroom for a while.
I didn't shout back at her, and I stayed calm and reasonable. I defended my boundaries, without punishing or belittling her. I was not rude and obnoxious back. But I still feel guilty. And wrung out. Seven is hard - I remember just how hard it felt when it was me yelling at my mum that she didn't love me and would never understand me. Today, I don't have any hard-won wisdom, just a lot of blah.
But I'm listing grace, anyway.
- We have enough savings put by to consider repairing the car
- Everyone was safe when it went wrong, and we were able to get home easily
- We have options for still going on holiday
- I am able to be calmer and more reasonable than a year ago
- I know that just as my mum and I got through it, Jenna and I will survive this tricksy independence dance
- packing for camp is nearly done
- Lael's rose is blooming gorgeously
- Martin has worked extra shifts this week so we don't have to be so careful with food money
- The way Rowan kisses me then gazes up as if to check I'm smiling
- Friends to debrief to, a cup of tea, and much-needed empathy
- I got a "sorrey" card through my door just this minute *melt*