“Oh, that’s not good,” I said. A warning flashed across my dashboard. My heart leapt into my throat.
“What mama? What’s not good?” asked my daughter. I looked in the mirror and made eye contact with my six-year-old. She could tell something was wrong.
“The car is running out of battery, and we aren’t going to make it home,” I responded.
We drove into the sunset. The brilliant glow warmed the inside of our car— the sun dipped below the visor. My eyes began to burn and I tried desperately not to blink. We were on 37, which is the last single lane highway in California that you would want to find yourself stuck on with two small kids and a dog.
The car was fully charged to make a round trip from Sacramento. But, what went wrong? My hand reached down to grab my phone. It was plugged into the charger which was quietly sucking the life out of the car. I exhaled and rubbed my forehead. The little energy thief.
Phone in hand and a quick swipe of my thumb, I found a charging station three miles away. Bingo. Sonoma Raceway here we come.
The dashboard warning flashed again. Then the radio shut off. My hands turned white around the steering wheel. Just as we made the turn off of the freeway, the car started powering down. Under my breath, I began to chant: “You can do it. You can do it.”
“You can do it. You can do it,” echoed my daughters.
This was not the little engine that could. This was a tiny electric car, weighted down by three humans, a seventy pound dog and the regret that I didn’t find a charging station sooner.
Just in time, we pulled into the parking lot of Sonoma Raceway only to find out that the car charger had been removed. Now, we were really stuck.
Is it ironic that a car charger was removed from a raceway? A question I will continue to ponder for times I lie awake at night.
The security manager allowed us to park where the car could be plugged in. We pulled up next to a security checkpoint, under a brightly lit overhang. Meanwhile, my sister-in-law drove to my house to retrieve the car wall charger. It stung knowing that we were only 15 minutes from home.
No charger. No battery. No backup. I was stuck with no ETA for when we could get back on the road. I was tired and frustrated. But, instead of reacting negatively, I accepted the situation. Instead of complaining, I searched for solutions. The choice to act instead of react also helped me keep a clear mind, and I was able to answer my daughter’s questions about our situation with kindness. I was grateful that we were in a safe location instead of being stranded. There was a plug, a bathroom and access to water. I knew we were going to be fine.
Our evening, unexpectedly, turned into an adventure. My girls were simply happy to be with me experiencing something new. They even got to see a racetrack for the first time.
As unpredictable situations pop up, I remember this: I have the choice to be a teacher for my daughters. And as they grow, they too can create new adventures by shining a light of positivity when faced with unforeseen circumstances.
*Image via Pexels - Susanne Jutzeler