Wear Your Seatbelt!

Not to be a total downer, but I feel compelled to share this story with you guys. This past Sunday, my family and I took a drive to go try a great pizza place in another town. We had a fabulous lunch and were just driving around looking at the other great restaurants in the area (truth be told, I was researching for this site). My husband was driving our station wagon, I was in the passenger’s seat and my children, ages 5 and 3, were in the backseat. The last thing I remember is slowing down as we approached a red light. Next thing I knew, I felt my back and head slam against the back of my seat and a I heard a huge bang. I had absolutely no thoughts in my head about what was going on and I didn’t immediately turn around to check on my kids, which I think will forever haunt me. I think of myself as a James Bond kind of mom-there to protect my kids against all danger! All I could do was sit there and think to myself, “I’ve just broken my back.” I had no other thought in my head. A few seconds later, I heard the words come out of my mouth, almost in slow motion, “what just happened?” I could hear my husband yelling, “are you okay?” to my 5 year old as she was sitting still looking straight ahead, as was my son. He answered me, “we’ve just been hot by a car.” Hearing those words made me turn my head to look out the window but I couldn’t see the other car and I remember thinking that I couldn’t understand what the words meant that came out of his mouth. Just then I heard my daughter cry and I snapped to. I screamed and jumped out of the car and into the backseat. The kids were actually, miraculously completely fine. I grabbed my son out of his seat and carried him to the curb-I just wanted them out of the car! My husband grabbed my daughter and we met on the curb. I looked at our car and it looked like one of those crash test dummy commercials driving full speed into a wall. The front and the back were crumpled. Again, miraculously, all four of us were okay physically.

As it turned out, there was a young man driving behind us who fell asleep at the wheel after being up all night working at a club and then going directly to his day job. He dozed off behind us and drove into the back of our car at full speed. The cops said we actually saved his life because if he had hit a pole, there would have been no give to the object he hit and we gave.

In my trance like state, I approached the young man, who seemed to also be okay, luckily, but only because his car veered slightly to the left as he was driving and the whole front of his car crumpled, except the part right around him. I said very calmly, “you almost killed my entire family and yourself. Whatever you’re doing with your job situation is not working. Take a nap.” He looked so sad, he felt genuinely bad and he said, “I need both jobs.” I felt terrible for him.

Now a few days later, I am mad at him for not being responsible. I still feel guilty that I didn’t jump to my children’s attention and I am grateful that my husband had his wits about him quicker than I did. I now know I was in a state of shock. I keep replaying in my mind the what ifs and what could have been and how lucky we are to be alive.

Being a positive thinker, my take away is this-we could not have changed anything we did that day and life goes on. We were just out for a drive. However, we played by the rules, we had our seat belts on, the kids were in real car seats and that is what saved us. We were prepared. I can’t imagine what would have happened if I slacked off that day and took my seatbelt off for that split second.

Just wanted to share a lesson with all of you that hopefully will not be one you’ll need to experience for yourselves.

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