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May 8, 2014
The Secret Life of Molly
When it Matters
by Hannah Bird

I am a bossy person. I'd like to chalk that up to being the mother of six but really, I am probably just bossy. I have talked about that here in my column. I have talked about rules I shouldn't have to make. I have talked about advice I have thrown in at the last minute. I have even talked about advice I would not give.

Since my children are home with me all day, they are subjected to a larger than usual volume of motherly bossiness. We always wonder, as parents, is any of this sinking in? Do they hear me? Am I disappearing into the noise of the house with the bull bellowing outside and the guitar playing inside and all the phones ringing and everyone talking and the silly dogs barking?

We wonder if it even matters what we say.

On Saturday afternoon I had a terrible headache. My children and husband loaded cattle into our new (to us) trailer to move to pasture. I went and lay down. After closing my eyes for what seemed like just a moment I heard a loud knock at my door.

On my porch was a smiling gentleman with a truly superior handlebar mustache. He gestured to a truck and trailer behind me and said he had my cows. I asked why he had my cows.

"Well," he said, "You know Jeff and the kids were in an accident over there on the highway..."

I did not. So it fell to this poor gentleman to tell me that my husband and five of my children had been in an accident. We go big around here, so as accidents go, this one was pretty spectacular.

The new trailer had a tire blow. The trailer started fishtailing and pushing the Suburban. They ran up the barrier on the side of the overpass. Then, they rolled. A lot.

We put the cows in. I think. They are out there right now so I feel pretty sure I remember that correctly. But I could not have given you my name at that moment. I stumbled to the car after promising the nice man I would not speed.

I was last to arrive at the hospital. I walked in and my darling in-laws were already there. My sister-in-law was there. My best friend was there. My daughter's best friend was there. They had formed their own emergency response team. They had washed off blood and given cuddles and passed out lucky pennies.

All of my children were fine. There were a few cases of road rash. There were some pretty good bruises. There was an elbow that needed some remodeling. They were terrified. But they were fine.

I quickly learned that the blood spattered all over their clothes was that of my husband. He was fine too. He has significant injuries to his scalp. His scalp. Not his head. The skin that grew his lovely long curls is a ground up mess. But the brain that holds the lovely man is fine.

Twenty years ago last month, my husband and I drove home from the hospital with our first child. I realized now that one of the first independent acts we performed as parents was to put her into her car seat. She always rode in one. So did each of the following five children.

"Put on your seat belts," I said. "Buckely uckle," my husband said.

I have told my children to be wary of bad men and more wary of those who claim to be good. I have told my children that flossing is important. I have told my children that I love them. I have told them to go to college, to marry well, to listen to the wise people in their lives. I have read them stories to teach them and talked about right and wrong.

I cared so much about how they grew up. I have made them feed cows. I have made them buck hay. They have hauled wood, planted trees, and bottle fed calves. We raised them around the best books. We raised them to be good critical thinkers. We raised them to be strong and independent.

We have done our best and worried about it. We have wondered if it was any good.

On Saturday afternoon, for 30 seconds, only one of our parenting choices mattered. Wear your seatbelts. Buckely uckle. Keep saying it. They will listen.


Copyright © 2021 by Hannah Bird Printed from NauvooTimes.com