The opossum ran into the nighttime street and changed his mind one time too many.
“Thud-bump!” went my tires over his body as he met his demise. My four children on board were shocked that I would do such a thing. I was too. Let’s face it: roadkilling has never been a kind of pastime I enjoy. (I still remember my two previous animals –a ground hog and a raccoon – fifteen and twenty years earlier! (I don’t count frogs.))
Half of a mile later, I was still explaining away how I couldn’t help it: his unpredicted turn made him unavoidable. I was practically turning it into a teachable moment of why we “look both ways before crossing,” when I came upon a raccoon’s body in the middle of the road. Since opossum guts were still fresh on my truck’s tires, I decided to straddle someone else’s roadkill, while still talking about my own dead opossum. At the last SECOND, that adorable raccoon lifted its head, as if to plea for mercy; it was still alive! Key word: “WAS.” With no time to swerve, I nailed the poor thing; I still remember its cute ears and wide eyes, right before they disappeared under my bumper.
My children didn’t see it, but felt it.
“What was that?” someone asked.
“A raccoon.” I said with a sad tone.
“You hit another animal?! Mom!” Christine said in a disgusted tone.
For our last couple of weeks at our Michigan home (before moving to North Carolina) I had to drive past these two bodies within one mile of my house, as they decayed in the street. Five-year-old J.R. would point them out each time. If we had friends in the car, he would almost proudly announce it as we came to the scenes of the crimes: “There’s the opossum Mom killed; and a little bit further up we’ll see her raccoon that she hit the same night.” Excitement filled his voice, and his friends listened on, impressed with his cool mom, I am sure.
I’ve always wanted to be “cool” like my grandmother and kill a rattlesnake with a shotgun. At 96, my grandmother just got one a few weeks ago from her garden’s swing in Kansas.
I finally got a snake last week, too.
Not a rattler, but a poisonous one, anyway.
My weapon of choice: BMW.
I was driving three young men home from soccer (ages, 12, 14 and 15) in my convertible (now dry after our fig tree delivery). With the convertible’s top down, the wind took away some of the post-practice odor. Brilliant, really.
As we rounded the last corner before our house, a snake was crossing the road. I stopped and backed up to get a good look, so I could identify it. As I suspected, it was a copperhead: poisonous. The boys stood in my car to see it up close, within a foot of the passenger door.
“Hit it, Mom!” one said.
“Really? It seems strange, since it’s in its environment,” I said, debating the kill, as I noticed a car coming behind me, so I knew I needed to get moving.
“Mom, you could save a little girl’s life!” Nate said, speaking my love language, while I pulled forward to get to the right side of the road before the car behind me approached.
“You did it, Mom! You killed the snake!” Nate yelled.
I hadn’t felt any thud-bump. “What was that noise?” I asked.
“It was the snake!” Casey said. “It popped when we ran over it!”
“Alleluia! Alleluia!” continued the Christian music in the background as I continued the drive. The boys laughed and sang along.
They were thrilled, and couldn’t wait to tell the others at home, as well as show the picture. Their mom had taken out a copperhead!
I was a hero.
They didn’t notice the skill with which I had had them out the door at 7:15 that morning, the algebra that I had slain with them the night before, the 4-food-group supper that was waiting and hot, prepared for their arrival, the stains that were no longer in their soccer uniforms, the bed sheets that had been changed in their absence, the prayers that had been said before they woke, but they noticed the dead snake and the “little girls’ lives that would be spared.”
Sometimes God gives you little gifts to make sure your kids know the “giant of a mother” you are, even when they don’t notice the important little stuff that makes you the giant.
“Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:” (Prov 31:28) (and I hope it’s for more than just killing a snake – LOL!)
Enjoying motherhood more than roadkill,