If you read my previous post, then you know that Friday was my 35th birthday.
It now seems ironic that I posted about one of my best birthdays so far, because before the day was over this one would end up being potentially one of the worst.
Most of the day was beautiful. The weather report was for rain and temps in the 50's. What I got was no rain and temps in the mid 60's.
A great friend came over and brought a terrific lunch and helped me get some organizational projects brainstormed for a future organizing marathon we plan to do for the sake of my sanity. (Where does all the stuff/toys come from?)
Both of my kids napped for nearly 3 hours!!!
Later, our friends came over again to watch the kids so that Mark and I could go out.
Our evening out was set to be dinner and a movie, which we never do because we feel compelled to rush home and relieve our babysitters who are often family and friends that have volunteered their time.
I knew what movie we were going to see, but the restaurant was a surprise. I had hinted about wanting to have sushi and really hoped on a certain restaurant. Mark came through and I was thrilled!
Dinner was fantastic. The atmosphere and food was amazing and the only problem was that we finished with nearly an hour until the movie.
We decided to leave anyway and just go sit at the theater for awhile.
The road between the restaurant and the theater was a four lane road with a double yellow line as the divider. About four miles into our 8 mile drive we saw a car about 150 yards away coming straight at us in our lane.
We were in the left lane and there was a car directly to our right. The was no where for us to go as the car continued to threaten us with a head on collision.
Mark began laying on the horn hoping to startle the driver back into the appropriate lane. When it appeared that wasn't working, he slammed on the brakes and we braced ourselves for a terrible impact. My beautiful children flashed before my eyes.
My only explanation for what happened next is angels.
At the very last second the car swerved and instead of a head on collision we were side swiped. The car, we assume with a drunk driver, did NOT stop. What is wrong with people these days?
The jolt was not enough to deploy the air bags and Mark, with adrenaline pumping, made a u-turn and tried to catch up to the car to at least get a description or license plate number.
Unfortunately, we weren't the only cars on the road and by the time we made the turn we had no idea which car it was. Mark sped up and we eyed each car we passed for damage. No luck.
We assume the driver turned or pulled over somewhere.
I had called 911 by then and was giving the dispatcher the details of the accident. He asked if we were headed home and I told him that it was my birthday and we were between dinner and a movie. He apologized for my bad luck and told us an officer would be calling us soon to meet us wherever we decided to stop after giving up on finding the other car.
When we stopped, we got out and evaluated the damage while we waited for the officer to arrive. We were stunned that it was so minor in comparison to what it could have been. Still, there is easily more than $1000 in damage. And, though it is frustrating that we will have to pay the deductible for the damage, we are so grateful to be okay and alive.
After spending a brief amount of time with the officer who reiterated that there was probably nothing they could do because we didn't get a plate or much of a description of the car, we decided that we would go ahead and see the movie.
Needless to say, I don't think either one of us was completely concentrating on the movie, but the few laughs we managed from it were welcome.
On the way home it really started to sink in. We came inches... moments... from major injury or even death. The speed limit on that road was 45 miles per hour and the car was far exceeding that. That kind of impact would have been devastating.
The thought of what could have been brought us to tears.
I came home and spent quite a bit of time in each of the kids' rooms just watching them sleep.
In the morning, I felt like the funk I have been in was totally lifted. The rainy, gray skies and whining didn't bother me as much and the sadness was gone. What remained was gratitude and joy that I was present and surrounded by my wonderful husband and sweet, beautiful children.
At one point Saturday morning Austin was watching TV, and I walked over and gave him a kiss. He asked me if I was leaving. When I responded that I wasn't, he apparently didn't hear me. He asked me again, "Mommy are you leaving? Are you leaving me Mommy?" Those words hit me like a brick and through tears I responded, "No sweetie, Mommy is staying right here with you."
As scary as it was and as shaken as I still am, part of me is grateful for the perspective that has resulted. Maybe one day I will look back and see this not as the worst birthday, but as one of the most positively life altering.
Thank you God for protecting us!
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