We didn’t plan to have a squirrel in our car yesterday morning. Regardless, it happened.
Sometimes things we don’t plan for happen anyway. For parents, caregivers and educators this is a relatively constant phenomenon.
I was riding in the “way back” (mini-van language) with our oldest. The two “littles” were in the middle seats and our 11 year-old was shotgun with Lorelei driving. We we’re about halfway to Sunday school when I heard a strange, scrappy noise coming from just behind me followed almost immediately by a strange sensation on my right shoulder.
Believe it or not, a squirrel sprung up onto me, brushed past my right cheek, leapt into the air, ricocheted like a parkour athlete off my son’s leg, scrambled through the middle seat and up onto the top of the dashboard, where he (or she) proceeded to run frantically back and forth in front of Lorelei’s face, stopping every once in a while to lock eyes with her. It was a strange and awkward showdown, and remember, she was driving. I can’t quite describe the energy shift in the car during this unique squirrel-related event. Time slowed down and reality shifted. Out of body, for sure.
I was impressed at how calm everyone stayed. We decided that rolling the windows down, pulling over and eventually opening the doors was the way, and it worked. When the opportunity presented itself, our squirrel stowaway exited the vehicle with urgency.
We’re still processing. A range of emotions persists. We’re mostly laughing now. We weren’t entirely comfortable driving home but we did.
Sometimes things happen. Some things happen that we would have never expected or imagined. Some things happen that generally seem unlikely, even in hindsight. When we face whatever comes our way with love, respect and grace we tend to do ok.
Having our squirrel in the car experience reminded me, in spite of the many winding roads I’ve traveled, how fortunate I am to be Lorelei’s husband and dad to our wonderful kids. How did that happen? Probably just about as unlikely as the squirrel in the car, but here we are…and thank goodness for that.
Maybe our well paved paths and surefire plans aren’t the keys to happiness, but rather our ability to appreciate the twists and turns along the way.
If you ever have a surprise squirrel encounter, may it be a catalyst to reflection, joy and gratitude…as this one has been for me.
Live. Love. Listen. Learn. Lead. Thanks.