It was great as we got to see my brother and his family. Imogen has such a maternal streak and ADORES her baby cousins. After a lovely day spent catching up with family we decided to head home just after dinner so the girls could fall asleep in the car. This is where it gets interesting.
We could hear an odd noise in our car, and it was getting worse. We kept checking to see if we could find what the problem was but alas, we are not mechanics. We aren't even a little mechanically minded. In all honesty we knew something bad was most likely going to happen and we just wanted to get home in one piece.
And then there was the terrifyingly loud noise. The girls all sat bolt upright, woken from a rather deep sleep. When we could pull over we discovered a tyre blow out. Not the worst thing that could happen but we are grateful it happened on a straight stretch of the highway and not while we were climbing up the mountain range.
I'm proud to say that Gavin and I didn't even let a single expletive slip. We simply got out, and started working together to change the tyre. Last time I had to change a tyre on the road I was with the then boyfriend over a decade ago. He had no idea what to do so I was left to change it on my own in a cocktail dress. This time I was so glad to have a husband who knew what he was doing and who was able to stay calm. I even found a beautiful and delicate butterfly on the ground while were were undoing the wheel nuts.
Staying calm however, was not possible for Imogen. She had woken up with an adrenaline fright. She was in the dark. She didn't understand what was happening. Imogen has a morbid fear of the dark and has had since she was a toddler.
It was easy enough to explain to our 5 & 3 year olds what was happening, but poor Imogen was hysterical with fight. I'm sure people - parents - are familiar with tantrums in the car but this was not a tantrum. The fear that comes when comprehension of a situation is not possible, is overwhelming. How was I meant to console her while trying to help change a tyre? The space saving spare tyre we had put on the car made it a long & slow drive home, but the panic Imogen was experiencing made it interminable.
Our insurance will cover the damage to the car so that really isn't a concern (the back bumper was shredded, we'll need a new tyre, the reverse sensors will need replacing and who knows what else could be wrong). I had been posting about our car noises on Facebook and knew we had a string of friends waiting to come and pick us up if we ended up stranded. There wasn't a time that Gavin or I were particularly worried. What does make my heart sink is knowing that my big girl has such difficulty understanding everyday situations and what could have been a family adventure was so distressing for her.