Roadkilling Mommy

Dear Lindsey,

The opossum ran into the nighttime street and changed his mind one time too many.

English: I found this Opossum playing dead on ...

“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.))

Raccoon (Procyon lotor). Français : Raton lave...

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,


18 thoughts on “Roadkilling Mommy

  1. The others that may have gone unnoticed are the excuses and stereotypes you’ve taken out! More than frogs, I bet! 🙂

  2. You always tell such amazing stories, it never amazing me at the kind of adventures you can have when time and money aren’t fighting against you.
    Joe and I were dreaming about some of the adventures we could go on with Our kids someday. I can only hope that taking a sail boat from the St.Lawrence down the coast to who know were, or RVing across the country, will lead to as many teachable moments, as you seem to have.
    I always look forward to hearing/reading your stories, it gives me something to aim at for Our adventures to come. 🙂

  3. Thank you for sharing; it can be a reminder of things past or something to look forward to, for having 5 children of my own close to the ages of yours it is always anadventure. Your sharing is a blessing. God bless 😉

  4. Thank you for the reminder, Terri! Many of the things that moms do are totally invisible to the eyes of little ones (and others!). I also get a kick out of the fact that you took a picture of the snake afterwards. Totally something I’d do! 😀

  5. i think about the poor bunny i hit one day…out in the country-as their entire family watched! i looked in my mirror not knowing what i had hit…but seen white foofy fur flying everywhere…the guy in the back seat you just took out their pet rabbit…do something! like what was i supposed to do…i went back to apologize…the kids crying…i felt horrible! apparently their dad wasn’t too upset…it was ALWAYS getting loose…was going to happen sooner or later…i just wish it had been the car behind me! ahhh….roadkill–so traumatic! thanks for sharing!
    brenda hatcher

    • Haha! Thanks for the laugh, Brenda! What are the chances you would hit a PET bunny?! I guess we have to focus on all the ones we didn’t hit – LOL! Last year, a horse got loose, and was inches away from running into the road in front of my car, when he came to a skidding halt (and I did too!). There were 3 people chasing it, screaming- which is what I was watching when I almost missed seeing the horse! Now that would have been road kill, but my car would have been included in the victims! Thanks for sharing & Have a blessed day.

  6. Oh my goodness! Terri, it inspires me that you are so free at will, sharing so truthfully, with nothing to hide. How do you keep your life so transparent? How can you be so confident, yet so stripped of pride? I look up to the Bradys so much!! I thank God for your shining examples!

  7. You never cease to amaze me at how you can make a “story-with-a-point” out of anything! Thank you for the inspiration to tread on in LIFE for the sake of my kiddos. (Even when they notice.) God bless you, Terri.

  8. Yes, this is really a funny one! The worst thing about roadkills is you bring the evidence (blood or fur or both) home with you. We once hit a skunk and this time we brought home the stench which lingered for several days in our garage, ewww!
    Have a great day, Terri! God bless!

  9. Great post Terri, you are a hero among many even when it seems everything goes unnoticed. God certainly was speaking through you on Saturday because many people were impacted by your talks. It’s always a blessing to talk to you and I cherish every second. Looking forward to many more discussions at PC! Thank you for serving and being a role model to so many of us ladies!

  10. I really don’t feel that killing one of God’s creatures randomly with no reason on purpose is anything to brag about. And I would be worried about children who encouraged it.

  11. Oh my Goodness, what an awesome story Terri. I remember one time hitting a peacock, and all those gorgeous feathers flying every where. I cried the rest of the way to work. Then just 2 weeks later, in the evening, dark rainy, and chilly, in the middle of the road standing there, hmmm, geez what in the world is that??? Hmmmm, will it move? Should i try to swerve a little or not? Bam hit it , head on, and took it home, yes thats right it was stuck to the grill of my car. Unbelievable!!! Owl!! How sad is that?? Well only in Michigan.. You Terri, and only you could and should, write something about that.. I am just not that creative. Run with it… You are an Awesome writer, and so Fun too.

  12. I sure enjoy your writing Terri! I can never stop reading your blog posts until I’ve come to the end. I love how truthful you are too. A confidence that only a true believer in Christ and his Grace and enabling power can have. Thanks for sharing!

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