jen groeber: mama art

4 kids in 3 years: reflections on motherhood, art and life.

Pardon me, sir, but is that your truck on my minivan?

A funny thing happened on the way to the preschool.


Friday was a bleak and rainy morning and as per usual, we were late. Because no one would put on their scritch-scratching seat belts, that’s why. And because no one can button their own pants apparently, except Jasper who just remembered that Friday was his day for sharing at school. “Wait! WHAT are you sharing?!” So we speedy quick pulled out of the driveway and got stuck behind two school buses pretty much all. The way. To school.

After dropping Jasper off on the late side of on-time we headed through Essex and into Ipswich. And again we got stuck behind an SLK (Speed Limit Keeper.) Later still! And maybe I looked at the radio to find that Christmas station (yes folks, it’s November and we love that station) and maybe I quickly turned to look at Cabot after the twentieth, “Mama, look at me. Look at me. Mama, look. At me. Look at ME!”


We were almost to school in Ipswich on one of those back roads where every house has a placard that says “1700” and “1680”. Seriously, this was a road built at a time when they hadn’t yet envisioned a Model T, let alone a large Verizon truck.

For once I was actually paying attention while I was driving. As I adjusted speed I may have even pointed out the big Verizon truck up ahead. I slowed as he slowed. Then he stopped, and so I stopped. Then he started going backwards reallyfast. So I thought, “Wah?!” and “Blurg?!” and “Reverse, reverse, reverse!” and “He’s not stopping!” then…


“What dah?!” from the back row of the minivan.

 That Verizon truck was now on the hood of my minivan or more aptly, embedded in my minivan. We disentangled and pulled into the parking lot of the little church up the street. When he pulled up next to me the poor driver asked if I was alright. I turned and asked, “You guys alright back there?” and I rolled down the back window.

“Aw, gahd! You got kids back thah?”

Do I have kids? I invented kids!

“Aw gahd. Ah they okay?”

And again from the back row, “Dad’s gonna be pissed. Do we get to call the police?!”

When I returned home I called the insurance company and got Shaniqua, not to be confused with “Uniqua” from the Backyardigans who, I assure you, would have been way more empathetic.

“License plate number?”


You shoulda seen the other guy…

“Hahaha getting boots on. Weird I can’t remember it, right? Strange morning you know. Have you ever been in an accident? Oh, look. My license plate is actually cut in half. I seem to be missing a digit. Let me check the back plate. How weird is that, right? Hahaha.”

“It’s drivable.”

“Um, no.”

“You drove it home. Then it’s drivable.”

“I had three young kids in carseats on a cold, rainy morning, Shaniqua. No, it’s no longer drivable. Anyway, the frame is dented, pieces are falling off of it and it started to smell bad, so I don’t think you’d want me driving it on the highway.”

“Make and model of the vehicle that hit you?”

“It was a truck. You know, a big white utility Verizon truck? Not a Toyota Prius. Do big trucks even have makes and models? I can send you a picture…”

By the end of the conversation I finally had the chokey voice. “Hmm,” was all I had left.


The snub-nosed minivan.

Amazing how we respond in times of stress and how the responses of others fuel us, fueled me. When faced with the kindness, empathy and humor of a boatload of Verizon guys and a local Ipswich police officer, I was funny über-mama. Oh, no, hahaha, kids are fine. I’m fine! You shoulda seen the other guy! Hahaha.

But when faced with snarky insurance lady asking questions I didn’t have the answers to I pictured a truck backing over the front of my minivan with me and my three kids in it. I was powerless to stop it, to control any of it, in fact. Powerless. Could I have hit the horn sooner? Was I already outside the view of his mirrors when he reversed? Why didn’t I realize he’d stopped right away?


And we’re fine. My day was swallowed whole by insurance companies, adjusters, appraisers, moving car seats, going to the  rental place, having a besty pick up the remaining child, waiting for the tow, talking to hubby: all good things to have in times like these. Also, I anxiety-ate a package of proscuitto and a whole box of pfeffernusse that I’d just gotten for Thanksgiving dinner. But otherwise, things were fine.

In response to our hijacked Friday the kids were mercifully good. When the chokey voice came with Shaniqua, and I hung up the phone, Mica came over to me.

“You want this, Mama?” handing me whatever sticky treasure he could find in his pocket and then, “I’ll get you a monkey, Mama.”

“No, Mica,” chokey voice, “Mama just needs to hold you for a minute. That was scary for Mama.”

Reid’s and Cabot’s antennae went up across the room. They walked around the counter island to find me sitting on the floor, Mica straddling my lap hugging me. They knelt and hugged us both. “It’s okay, Mama!”

And in the end, it was.

(For the record, this is my excuse for not posting anything on Friday, and I’m sticking to it.)

12 comments on “Pardon me, sir, but is that your truck on my minivan?

  1. Kim
    November 24, 2013

    Oh Jen…..first let me say…..Holy Crap! How Scary! So glad you guys are ok!!!! Then I must tell you how hysterical you are and how funny you make things sound (the Shaniqua not to be confused with Uniqua made me laugh out loud)! But seriously, so glad you guys are ok. Hope you get a sparkly new shiny van out of the deal, you brave mama.

    • jgroeber
      November 25, 2013

      Aw, shucks! Thanks for the shout out. I’m torn between wanting a shiny new minivan (without Reid’s artwork carved in the side) and wanting my good ol’ beloved minivan. You should have seen the faces in the parking lot on Friday because I did actually drive to school to drop Cabot off before returning to the scene of the accident. (Later when the tow truck driver came to the house he was aghast at the fact that I’d driven it anywhere!)

    November 25, 2013

    Glad you and your treasures are safe…  sending lots of love to all of you!  Let me know if you need anything sweetie girl xoxoxo   

    • jen groeber
      November 26, 2013

      Aw, thanks! At least I’m getting to test drive a bunch of different minivans. Dodge Caravan, Nissan Quest, Honda Odyssey… all in four days! (Of course that means installing and uninstalling those four car seats!) Amazing how well the kids managed it.

  3. dvb415
    November 25, 2013

    I’m glad you are all OK. I know that we are supposed to make our kids feel safe and loved, and I know that feeling when their empathic big brains sense that, sometimes we need it, too.

    Great story, but they all are.

    Santa is so proud of you. 🙂

    • jen groeber
      November 26, 2013

      Wait until you see my Santa post. I may have to borrow a pic from some of your recent FB posts. Right from the source and all…

      Thanks so much for reading. I sort of started out amazed by this blogging thing, then a bit obsessed, then horrified, and I think I’m back to enjoying the inspiration to write. And as always, I’m very much appreciating the chance to be read. Thanks!!

  4. Michele
    November 26, 2013

    First of all, Sooo glad you are all ok. Second, I am not happy with Verizon right now…. THird, insurance lady, Boooooooo!!!! Not good customer service there. A strong letter is in the near future for her boss I hope. Lastly, keep on blogin. You are an inspiration!! Happy Thanksgiving, or in our case, Thanksgivicah!! LOL

    • jen groeber
      November 26, 2013

      Actually I ended up hugging the Verizon guy by the end of it. I felt terrible for him! Planning to write a letter to his supervisor asking for him NOT to get in trouble over this. Ha! On the other hand, I think by the time I got off the phone with mean insurance lady she was thinking, “Did I just make that woman cry?” And happy thanksgiving to you two as well! Maybe someday I’ll get down south for a holiday hug or two from you and yours. Lastly, that you actually read this blog, well that means the world to me. That’s why I write. So thank YOU.

  5. mollytopia
    November 27, 2013

    I’ll bring you a monkey. The best possible solution for a time like that obviously. Kids are the best. You did a great job holding it together when it counted. Insurance buttonholes don’t deserve the mom-comedy show : ) I’m glad you’re all okay!

    • jen groeber
      November 28, 2013

      Because what situation is not made better by a monkey? Preferably his pink stuffed Beanie Baby, but really, any monkey will do. (I would add the monkey would work better with a maragrita or pfeffernusse, but perhaps that goes without saying?) Thanks for getting it, and for the follow. Have loved reading your blog!

  6. Pingback: Why I don’t curse. (Because I’m a good girl, that’s why…) | jen groeber: mama art

  7. Pingback: Farewell Minivan: Ch-ch-ch-changes | jen groeber: mama art

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This entry was posted on November 24, 2013 by in Surviving Motherhood, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , .

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