My lucky day.

“If I had known it would end like this, I would have worn pants.”

Honestly? The second I decided to make the trip home from Nicaragua in stupid pajama bottoms instead of real pants I should have known that I’d end up here…

…bouncing around in the back of an old, janky pickup truck through the dust covered town of Rivas, Nicaragua. Looking super pissed. And thinking, “We are so screwed. I should have just known… and I should have worn pants.”

But things had been going so well. Pants hardly seemed necessary when we left the hotel that morning.

Our last minute trip to Nicaragua to renew our visas was at an end, and our car – with it’s 250,000 kilometers and recent work – had been cooperating. We’d managed to get ourselves and our crappy car through immigration, made it to our destination, even did some exploring without any problems. And now we were ready to get home, but we didn’t get far before “the noise” started. My handy husband pulled over to check it out, but then the car didn’t want to start again and we had to pop the clutch (requiring a pop-the-clutch moment appropriate for an entirely separate blog post in which I explain why you can’t get mad at your wife for not knowing how the hell to pop a clutch when she’s never done it before and you’re not explaining it, like, at all, and also, how you’d be way less pissed off right now if you’d have just stopped on a hill – but she’s still sorry it took three tries, even though this is all your fault) which left me a little traumatized and my husband and eldest son really, really sweaty from pushing the car (repeatedly). Anyway, we got a little further and stopped a couple more times (yes, that means more hellacious clutch-popping) and then it was over.

The car refused to move. What a jerk. And I thought, “We are so screwed.”

All you need to know now is that Nicaragua is hotter than the sun. Oh, and that in an effort to find help, my husband walked to a bar where he met a guy who took him to a friend who knows a guy who has a truck with a tow bar and is related to a mechanic, orsomethinglikethat. So the kids and I watched him disappear down the road among the dust clouds and hot asphalt heatwaves, sincerely hoping that he would come back. But I was pretty sure he was being led to an ATM and his eventual demise, so when he left I thought, “We are so screwed.”

Ok, long boring story short – We get the car to a mechanic who takes the whole thing apart, and says, “You are so screwed” – because we need a whole new engine. BUT. It’s Semana Santa – Holy Week – in Latin America, and everything shuts down. Everything. Mechanics, stores, restaurants, buses, even the border closes on the Friday before Easter. So we decide to ditch the car and deal with it later, and that’s when we climbed in the back of some dude’s truck, because we had to find some cash and beg a bus driver to make room for us on one of the last buses out of the country before everything shuts down. It was already 2 pm, and the bus was coming through around 3:30 – I know, I know, so screwed, right?

So there I was, in the back of a truck, in my pj’s, looking like some kind of bitter, dirty hippie who hitchhikes with her kids through Nicaraguan border towns. Beautiful. And then my youngest child says, “Mom, this is like my lucky day! I’ve always wanted to ride in the back of a truck!!” And, seriously? He’s grinning from ear to ear. So I’m sitting there, in dumbstruck silence, sweat beaded on my forehead, looking at him like, WHO’S KID ARE YOU?! This isn’t your lucky day. You’re screwed, kid! You’re riding in the back of a stranger’s pickup in Central America because you have blatantly irresponsible, poor people for parents and you’ll be lucky if you ever sleep in your own bed again.” But in a rare moment of clarity, I didn’t say any of that out loud…

I just sat there thinking about how cool it is that my baby sees awesomeness everywhere he looks. He just trusts that it will all be ok, that no matter the outcome, it will be ok. And all of his moments are full of this I-am-the-luckiest-person-on-the-planet kind of joy because of it.

We did end up getting 5 spots on the bus yesterday, and I sat next to my munchkin where I got to hear all about how this was his lucky day because he got to ride in a pickup, and he got to have a Coke with his fried chicken lunch, and we all got to read a book together while we waited for Dad to get help, and he found a sharp thingy to mess around with while we were at the mechanic’s shop but he didn’t even cut his finger off with it or anything. And then, the steward brought us our styrofoam encased dinners, and he opened his up and yelled, “High five, Mom – Fried chicken, twice in one day!!!”

And I couldn’t help but smile and feel like maybe this was my lucky day.

As the bus pulled in to San Jose late last night and I wandered my way, self consciously, through the crowds toward our luggage, I said to my husband, “Man, if I had known it would end like this, I would have worn pants.” But I didn’t feel screwed anymore. Actually, I felt sort of lucky…. Because at the last minute, before we left the hotel, I had decided to wear a bra.

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This post is brought to you by the Bikers Church! I sincerely love these guys, so I hope you’ll click the link and “like” them on FaceBook – Go ahead…everybody is doing it….

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Um. You may have noticed the part where we left our car in Nicaragau – soooo yeah….prayers as we navigate this situation would be SO appreciated. Thanks!


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