Just Another Catholic Mom in a Van Story

"Just another Catholic mom in a van" by Elena LaVictoire (CatholicMom.com)

Copyright 2017 Elena LaVictoire. All rights reserved.

Yesterday was piano-lesson day. That wonderful time of the week when we pile into the van and I take my kids to the piano teacher’s house. As soon as they were settled, I drove away for an hour of peace and quiet. It was delightful. I went to my favorite spot and grabbed a Diet Coke and immersed myself in a great new book. Traffic was moderate as I drove back to pick up the kids. I managed to hit all of the red lights.

Less than a mile from my destination I had to stop the van for another red light. I wanted to turn right, but I noted the right lane was blocked with orange construction barrels. Oncoming traffic was fast and steady. I just didn’t think I could make the turn, avoid the barrels and get up to speed in a safe manner before the oncoming cars overtook me! So I waited.

But apparently, the guy in the truck behind me saw things differently.

He honked his horn. Then as soon as the light changed he made a wide right turn so that he was to the left of me. When I looked up he was glaring at me, but not in a lingering way because he also wanted to make sure that he could cut right in front of me causing me to hit the brake hard. Apparently, that didn’t seem enough punishment for the injustice of making him wait behind me at the light. He raised his right arm in satisfaction and then elevated his middle finger triumphantly as if he had just conquered an evil foe.

Now, I could still see his face in the mirror. He was victorious and proud that he had finally “shown me.” I guess middle-aged women in family vans are to be shown, and as contemptuously as possible. Whatever my crime, in his mind I deserved this public display of ridicule.

But what this guy didn’t know was that I had just been doing a little extra spiritual reading and had recently come across this from St. Melito.

It is he who endured every kind of suffering in all those who foreshadowed him. In Abel he was slain, in Isaac bound, in Jacob exiled, in Joseph sold, in Moses exposed to die. He was sacrificed in the Passover lamb, persecuted in David, dishonored in the prophets.

It is he who was made man of the Virgin, he who was hung on the tree; it is he who was buried in the earth, raised from the dead, and taken up to the heights of heaven. He is the mute lamb, the slain lamb, the lamb born of Mary, the fair ewe. He was seized from the flock, dragged off to be slaughtered, sacrificed in the evening, and buried at night. On the tree no bone of his was broken; in the earth his body knew no decay. He is the One who rose from the dead, and who raised man from the depths of the tomb.

And so I’ve done something that I’ve never done before in a traffic mishap. I looked right back at him and made the sign of the cross.

Suddenly he took the very first turn right turn. I wonder if he meant to get on the expressway? I wonder if he knew it was five miles before the next exit? I wonder if he’ll hesitate the next time before sending hand signals to a Catholic mom in a van?

Copyright 2017 Elena LaVictoire


About Author

Elena LaVictoire is a graduate of Baker College and a retired medical transcriptionist. She is married and homeschooled six children. Elena is a public speaker on the topics of marriage, homeschooling, and confirmation preparation. She was also a contributing author to The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion. Elena practices and performs with her flute and records with the Peace Together Choir. She blogs at MyDomesticChurch.com.


  1. I tend to have a short fuse when I’m driving. I tried really hard today to say a little prayer for the driver who cut me off in traffic instead of getting angry. Your response is way better than anything done in anger. Thank you for the inspiration to do better.

  2. I love it! What is the sign of the cross, except, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, (and all that good stuff), against such there is no law. Good for you. Good for that driver. He didn’t know what hit him.
    I had a few years in a twelve passenger van with the kiddos, driving them to the piano teacher’s house, too.
    I’m sad that it’s over. My children are now, give or take a few months of birthdays, 28, 26, 24, 23, 21, and almost 18.
    I’ll never forget a time when I was alone, visiting my son in Nashville and driving around, trying to find his apartment. I was at a left turning light. Apparently the guy behind me thought I should’ve scooted left while I had the yield, but I wasn’t sure, so I waited. I could see him in my mirror, belligerent, yelling, and he honked at me. I was scared. I prayed the St. Michael prayer. Everything diffused quite quickly. I went my way, and he went his, without further abuse.

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