My 5-year-old girl and her 6-year-old classmate were singing this Christmas carol behind me in my mini van while my 3-year-old son was adding in his own boyish sounds. We were almost to the big kids’ school and I eased into an intersection, continuing on the small residential road toward the drop-off site and apparently into the path of the car I hadn’t seen coming full speed on the bigger highway.
It was loud. It happened fast. And as my mini van slowed into the yard on the corner of the intersection, I saw the small red car keep sliding through the wet grass into the tree.
Time seemed to stand still yet speed along in the same instant. Perhaps that’s what surreal means.
I turned around to the three kids in the back seat. The boys were speechless. My girl was spouting questions about the logistics of what had happened and what it meant would happen. I pushed open my slightly jammed door to check on the other driver. Her airbag had deployed and her door wouldn’t open, but her window was down and she talked to me. She kept asking me if the kids were alright. I assured her they were and that I’d call 911.
Again, time was a funny thing. It seemed to take the emergency responders awhile to get there, but I’m guessing it wasn’t really that long. I called my husband. A mom from the school stopped, helped calm my shaken-up nerves and then took the big kids to school while I awaited the police, my husband and a tow truck. The volunteer fire department showed up first. Then EMS. And then the sheriff’s deputies.
I cried. I had been crying. And I cried some more. I told the police what happened. And I heard the fire and medical workers carefully getting the woman out of her car. The longer it took them, the more I cried. The school principal who has become my friend heard from another mom who drove by I had been involved in a car wreck, so she came to see if I needed anything. Apparently I needed a friend. She literally shouldered my tears, reminded me of God’s faithfulness and provision, kept me from staring at the EMS guys loading the other driver onto a stretcher and into a neck brace. My husband showed up. The tow truck came and we made a plan for my wrecked van’s destination.
And all the while my boy sat in his car seat looking at the fire truck parked right next to us.
I probably cried again. And then I got it together to go check on my girl and our friend at school. I left with a heart full that she goes to school where she does, where I felt loved this morning in this small community, where her teacher reminded her she was safe, where the principal acted more like my friend and called me after lunch to give me an update on her conversation with my girl and check on me. My husband arranged for me to borrow a vehicle from his mom.
On the way to drop off my boy at his preschool, I texted a few close friends and asked them to pray for the other driver. I couldn’t stop thinking about her. She seemed to have come from nowhere into that intersection, but when I pulled into her path, she came into my mind. And stayed there for much of the day.
After I’d stopped crying and was getting ready to leave the scene in my husband’s car, I asked the policeman if I could get the other driver’s name so I could check on her later. Well, apparently, he didn’t write it down. Rather he just had our driver’s license numbers and insurance policy info. Of course, he also had the names and birthdates of the three kids in my vehicle. But not the driver’s name. I left praying I could get an update on her condition at some point, preferably before the seven to 10 working days I was told to allow for the official police report.
We got the back-up vehicle. My husband talked to the insurance company, which is sending an adjuster to look at my mini van tomorrow. I talked to a couple people on the phone. And then I managed to lock the borrowed keys and my spare house key in my house when I stopped at home to change my socks, shoes and jeans, all still wet from the morning grass made messier by our tire tracks.
Yep. My husband had to come rescue me again. Second time in two hours.
I managed to safely maneuver the much-larger Yukon I’m temporarily driving through the crowded Post Office parking lot and then meet a friend for lunch. She asked if I wanted to reschedule our already planned lunch, but I thought lunch with a friend and none of our kids may be just what I needed. And it was for more than one reason.
One reason: Her friend is an emergency room doctor at the little hospital where the other driver was taken this morning. So she texted him to see if he could give her an update on the lady’s condition. A couple hours later, she told me the other driver had been discharged from hospital because she was doing OK. Thank God. Plus her company was good for my soul.
Another friend brought me flowers. And I got teary-eyed as I read all the encouragement posted on my Facebook status. Other friends and relatives have texted. And I’m reminded that I’m not in this life alone. I’m thankful for God’s protection and the community in which he’s built around me. And for my little family who loves me, even when the dinner I make fails and we decide to go to Zaxby’s, where kids eat free on Mondays, just 30 minutes before my husband is supposed to be at a meeting. He was a little late. But our bellies and hearts were full.
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