Continued from Part 1

I’ve heard the voice twice.

 

My 1994 Thunderbird was a tank. Okay, not this kind. But close.

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Photo Credit: D. Miller

Twice rear-ended, only a scrape on the bumper and slightly bent tip on a tailpipe hinted at past trauma. The other two cars? Totaled.

Invincible in my T-bird, I zoomed north on the highway, drumming a beat on the steering wheel. Keeping an eye out for the law, I pushed the speedometer needle higher. Might even be early to work, at this rate. 

The gauge nudged closer to 80 mph. A weird feeling washed over me. Slow down. 

I slowed. A little.

A few minutes later, head bopping to the music, my speed rose again. Again, the feeling. SLOW DOWN. 

The third time, I could almost hear it. I tried to pay attention to my speed, but…the music drew me in.

As my speed re-approached 80, a loud shout sounded from my back seat.

SLOW DOWN. NOW!

 

Taking my foot from the gas, I turned just a bit, cautious. Did I have a stowaway?

The back seat was empty.

Unnerved, I moved to the slow lane and kept my speed down. Once at work, I called Hubby and told him about the crazy experience. We laughed about my law-abiding “other personality.” My imagination has always been phenomenal, but this…I decided to watch my speed on the way home.

That evening, Hubby took my car to a friends’ shop, a pre-planned appointment to replace a part. Two meters into the driveway, the front left wheel fell off.

FELL OFF.

If I’d continued speeding that morning, the offending joint could have failed on the highway. And if I were rolling at 80 mph, I’d likely be dead.

I heard the same voice only one other time in my life.

We tried several different adoption agencies through our ten years of marriage. Each provided a questionnaire about the kinds of children we would consider. In every case, we had very few rule-outs, but I always noted that I’d probably be a better mom for boys. Not that I didn’t want a girl; I just didn’t feel confident in my ability to connect with a little princess.

I grew up playing baseball and tackle football, almost always the only female. Through childhood, high school and college, my best friends were boys. Most girls my age annoyed me; they droned on about fashion, nail colors and dating. Don’t get me wrong; a cute boy could still turn my head (and when I was thirteen, Hubby caught my attention). Even on a date, I’d rather go hiking; sappy was never really my thing.

No one would call me a “girly girl.” I played several seasons as the only girl on our church softball team. I’m happiest in the middle of a DIY project, like demolishing a wall, ripping out drywall, plastering and painting. My girlfriends (yes, I have those now) discuss the latest Hallmark Channel movies, Thirty-One totes and Jamberry nail wraps while I ponder tearing out my kitchen cabinets and pulling up flooring.

 

So when I heard the voice again, it had special meaning.

 

Kay called across the church parking lot. “Come see what I have in my van!”

Puppies? A couple new chickens? I couldn’t guess. She always had an adventure brewing. They hit a deer in the road, and now they have it in their van, and it’s going to wake up and destroy the vehicle. No, never mind…that’s a movie. 

I jogged across the lot. “Whatcha got?”

She opened the van doors. “They need a place to live.”

 

Inside, two tiny, malnourished children stared back at me. A girl and a boy. The boy ducked his head; at that moment, I didn’t understand his terror. Too many times, they’d been shuffled from van to car, from car to house, from house to van. The girl widened her eyes and sat up straight, defiant and on guard. I gazed at them, frozen.

That’s your daughter.

 

A deep male voice spoke behind me. Familiar. I whirled. No one stood behind me.

 

That’s your daughter.” Not because the boy wasn’t special or would not become my son. I’d always known we’d adopt at least one boy. Confirmation that, in spite of my shortcomings, I could be a good “girl” mom.

 

Kay squinted at me. “What are you doing? Did you hear me?”

 

I shook my head to clear it. “Yes…I heard you. Did you hear that? Did you hear what he said?”
She reached a hand toward my forehead. “You feeling all right?”
With one last glance around, I shrugged. “Yep. So, they need a place to stay.” Just then, the caravan of vehicles arrived, prompting a flurry of activity. Hugs all around, then parents and teens transferred suitcases and sleeping bags from church vans to family cars.  Once things settled, I dragged Hubby to the van. “Look,” I said, opening the door. “Okay if I call social services tomorrow?”

 

Continued…