Our Keepsake Journal is Here! 🎉

With their cell phones as extensions of their hands, my kids expect I will be available at all times, under any circumstances. They text and call until I respond. It drives me batty.

Mom?

Are you there?

Text back!

Most times, these super urgent texts are to inform me they need Chick-fil-a for dinner, or practice is running late, or they want to know where I am at 5:02 when I was supposed to pick them up at 5:00. I’ll admit, depending on my mood, sometimes I don’t text back immediately, or their call comes in and I hit the auto-responder: In a meeting. What’s up?

They have to learn to wait, right?

Last week, my husband and I really were in a meeting. As it ended, the caller ID flashed on my phone. It was my daughter Cali. Can’t she wait? I thought. She knows I’m in an appointment. I hit the auto-responder, reasoning I’d call her back as soon as we got into the car. Then the texts started:

Cali: It’s important.

Me: 5 minutes.

Cali: No mom, it’s really important.

The phone rang again and my gut told me to answer it.

My daughter, with a nervous laugh, said, “A car hit my bike on State Hill Road. Kate and I were going to the park—”

My heart slammed against my chest and my breath caught in my throat, but my brain instantaneously sorted two key facts: 1) she had the wherewithal to speak so 2) she couldn’t be too hurt.

“I’m okay . . .” she said again. “But the bike . . .”

My husband tore the phone from my hand. “What were you doing on State Hill Road?” he roared. Then, “We’re coming.”

We flew out of the appointment, both of us distraught and equally pissed she had her bike on the busy, no-shoulder road that abuts our neighborhood. Nevertheless, we were calm because it sounded like everything was okay. Still, I called her back in the car.

“I’m fine, Mom. We’re at the park.”

“Wait till we get there. Do not go near State Hill Road again.” We raced ten minutes across town and when we finally turned onto State Hill Road, my gut clenched. There was an ambulance, a police car, a small crowd of people, our son, and Cali’s mangled bicycle, but no Cali.

In an instant, I understood the woman who falls to her knees, her arms reaching to the sky, begging for grace, mercy, and pardon—bargaining with her own life for the safety of her child. The fear is physical, the adrenaline exploding through your body, shooting into every particle of your being.

I had to see my daughter. I climbed into the ambulance.

Cali smiled, and again laughed with a nervous edge. “I’m fine, Mom.”

“She’s okay,” the very serious EMT said, shaking his head as he bandaged her ankle. “This could have been bad. She’s a lucky girl.”

The tears welled in my eyes, the relief overwhelming.

The young police officer was shaken too. “When I got the call, I was afraid of what I’d find.”

Cali giggled.

“It’s not funny,” the officer said.

Cali and her friend Kate had decided to take an after-dinner bike ride in the park. They’re responsible, conscientious young women, both high school freshmen. They know to look both ways and to exercise extreme caution when crossing State Hill Road by pushing their bikes rather than riding them. They’re not risk-takers. Still, even careful kids make mistakes. Cali says she didn’t see the car coming. Kate, who paused at the side of the road, did.

“Stop!” Kate screamed.

Cali pivoted. The car sideswiped the bike, with Cali one step away from calamity.

All night long, I was jarred awake with images of what if?

What if Cali had been by herself?

What if she’d been riding, instead of pushing her bike?

What if she had ignored Kate?

What if? What if?

The answer was shattering. Life-altering. One from which none of us ever would have recovered. A mom a couple towns over, a woman I know in passing, buried her son this past spring after a car accident. It’s unfair. Indecent. Horrific. I know only a fraction of the weight and pain she carries now. My empathy is no comfort, but it’s all I have.

That night my seventeen-year-old son piled Cali’s broken bike into the rear of his fifteen-year-old pick-up truck. When Cali slid into the backseat of our Nissan Pathfinder with only an Ace bandage around her bruised calf, she broke down.

“I know it wasn’t funny.” She heaved. “I was too scared, so I tried to laugh. I didn’t want to cry in front of everyone.”

Later in the quiet of my daughter’s bedroom, I hugged her. The warmth of her body and the heat of her breath reminded me that, yes, we were so lucky. Each day is special. Thank God! We dodged another bomb hidden in the minefield of life.

The twisted bike lay in our driveway for twenty-four hours before I told my husband he had to get rid of it for I would never sleep again.

We’re done with bikes. State Hill Road is forever off limits.

It was a lesson learned for Cali. Accidents happen—in a blink of an eye. The most we can do is to be good to each other, to love one another, to watch out for our friends, to be the person who yells, “Stop,” or, maybe, as the girls find themselves in questionable high school situations, to be the voice that whispers quietly, “Don’t do that.”

I answer my kids’ texts more quickly now.

*This piece was originally published on heatherchristiebooks.com 

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Heather Christie

Heather Christie is a wife, mother, writer, real estate broker, amateur cook, exercise freak, and avid reader. When she's not selling houses, she's writing books and blogging at http://heatherchristiebooks.com/. She recently completed her MFA and her first novel What The Valley Knows. Her work has appeared on Scary Mommy, Elephant Journal, Mamapedia, The Good Men Project, Grown & Flown, Parent.co, Bon Bon Break, the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop, Sammichs and Psych Meds, and The Lighter Side of Real Estate. Follow Heather’s Sunday Morning Blog and say hello on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Being a Hands-on Dad Matters

In: Kids, Living
Dad playing with little girl on floor

I am a hands-on dad. I take pride in spending time with my kids. Last week I took my toddler to the park. He’s two and has recently outgrown peek-a-boo, but nothing gets him laughing like him seeing me pop into the slide to scare him as he goes down. He grew to like this so much that he actually would not go down the slide unless he saw me in his range of vision going down. When it’s time to walk in the parking lot he knows to hold my hand, and he grabs my hand instinctively when he needs help...

Keep Reading

5 Kids in the Bible Who Will Inspire Yours

In: Faith, Kids
Little girl reading from Bible

Gathering my kids for morning Bible study has become our family’s cornerstone, a time not just for spiritual growth but for real, hearty conversations about life, courage, and making a difference. It’s not perfect, but it’s ours. My oldest, who’s 11, is at that age where he’s just beginning to understand the weight of his actions and decisions. He’s eager, yet unsure, about his ability to influence his world. It’s a big deal for him, and frankly, for me too. I want him to know, deeply know, that his choices matter, that he can be a force for good, just...

Keep Reading

A Mother’s Love is the Best Medicine

In: Kids, Motherhood
Child lying on couch under blankets, color photo

When my kids are sick, I watch them sleep and see every age they have ever been at once. The sleepless nights with a fussy toddler, the too-hot cheeks of a baby against my own skin, the clean-up duty with my husband at 3 a.m., every restless moment floods my thoughts. I can almost feel the rocking—so much rocking—and hear myself singing the same lullaby until my voice became nothing but a whisper. I can still smell the pink antibiotics in a tiny syringe. Although my babies are now six and nine years old, the minute that fever spikes, they...

Keep Reading

Right Now I’m a Mom Who’s Not Ready to Let Go

In: Child, Kids, Motherhood
Mother and daughter hugging, color photo

We’re doing it. We’re applying, touring, and submitting pre-school applications. It feels a lot like my college application days, and there’s this image in my mind of how fast that day will come with my sweet girl once she enters the school doors. It’s a bizarre place to be because if I’m honest, I know it’s time to let her go, but my heart is screaming, “I’m not ready yet!” She’s four now though. Four years have flown by, and I don’t know how it happened. She can put her own clothes on and take herself to the bathroom. She...

Keep Reading

Each Child You Raise is Unique

In: Kids, Motherhood
Three little boys under a blanket, black-and-white photo

The hardest part about raising children? Well, there’s a lot, but to me, one major thing is that they are all completely different than one another. Nothing is the same. Like anything. Ever. Your first comes and you basically grow up with them, you learn through your mistakes as well as your triumphs. They go to all the parties with you, restaurants, sporting events, traveling—they just fit into your life. You learn the dos and don’ts, but your life doesn’t change as much as you thought. You start to think Wow! This was easy, let’s have another. RELATED: Isn’t Parenting...

Keep Reading

Our Kids Need Us as Much as We Need Them

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy sitting on bench with dog nearby, color photo

During a moment of sadness last week, my lively and joyful toddler voluntarily sat with me on the couch, holding hands and snuggling for a good hour. This brought comfort and happiness to the situation. At that moment, I realized sometimes our kids need us, sometimes we need them, and sometimes we need each other at the same time. Kids need us. From the moment they enter the world, infants express their needs through tiny (or loud) cries. Toddlers need lots of cuddling as their brains try to comprehend black, white, and all the colors of the expanding world around...

Keep Reading

Your Kids Don’t Need More Things, They Need More You

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Mother and young girl smiling together at home

He reached for my hand and then looked up. His sweet smile and lingering gaze flooded my weary heart with much-needed peace. “Thank you for taking me to the library, Mommy! It’s like we’re on a date! I like it when it’s just the two of us.” We entered the library, hand in hand, and headed toward the LEGO table. As I began gathering books nearby, I was surprised to feel my son’s arms around me. He gave me a quick squeeze and a kiss with an “I love you, Mommy” before returning to his LEGO—three separate times. My typically...

Keep Reading

This Time In the Passenger Seat is Precious

In: Kids, Motherhood, Teen
Teen driver with parent in passenger seat

When you’re parenting preteens and teens, it sometimes feels like you are an unpaid Uber driver. It can be a thankless job. During busy seasons, I spend 80 percent of my evenings driving, parking, dropping off, picking up, sitting in traffic, running errands, waiting in drive-thru lines. I say things like buckle your seat belt, turn that music down a little bit, take your trash inside, stop yelling—we are in the car, keep your hands to yourself, don’t make me turn this car around, get your feet off the back of the seat, this car is not a trash can,...

Keep Reading

So God Made My Daughter a Wrestler

In: Kids, Motherhood
Young female wrestler wearing mouth guard and wrestling singlet

God made my girl a wrestler. Gosh, those are words I would never have thought I would say or be so insanely proud to share with you. But I am. I know with 100 percent certainty and overwhelming pride that God made my girl a wrestler. But it’s been a journey. Probably one that started in the spring of 2010 when I was pregnant with my first baby and having the 20-week anatomy ultrasound. I remember hearing the word “girl” and squealing. I was over the moon excited—all I could think about were hair bows and cute outfits. And so...

Keep Reading

A Big Family Can Mean Big Feelings

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Family with many kids holding hands on beach

I’m a mother of six. Some are biological, and some are adopted. I homeschool most of them. I’m a “trauma momma” with my own mental health struggles. My husband and I together are raising children who have their own mental illnesses and special needs. Not all of them, but many of them. I battle thoughts of anxiety and OCD daily. I exercise, eat decently, take meds and supplements, yet I still have to go to battle. The new year has started slow and steady. Our younger kids who are going to public school are doing great in their classes and...

Keep Reading