Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Thankfulness, come late...

Thanksgiving with my family was the usual fare. A nice visit with the in-laws and relatives on my husband's side of the family on actual Thanksgiving day. Then, towards the end of the weekend, the family meltdown happened. I hate to say it is inevitable, but in recent years it seems that it might be. Certainly, this is not unusual on my side of the family. Why, it's not the holidays without one ridiculous misunderstanding blown out of proportion! Right? Anyone? Anyone?

But, for my in-laws' side of the family, I think these little catfights in recent years have been a new thing. And, they take their toll, especially on my dear mother-in-law who tries very hard to make everyone happy. They are difficult too for my husband, who is the youngest by many years. He tends to morph into a techie suburban version of Rodney King coming back with, "Can't we all just GET ALONG?" (God love him, I am happy I married the family peacemaker, that's for certain!)

So, the blur of Thanksgiving was past us and we were looking onward to getting holiday gifts, spending too much, keeping "Santa" alive for our son and daughter, and trying to focus the kids more on the giving and less on the getting and the sickening commercialism that abounds from about late October to January in retail land.

We were driving down a major interstate in the city, not in our normal surroundings, having gone on a quest for boys' bedroom furniture, befitting of a seven-year-old budding sportsmaniac. (How's that for some alliteration, folks?) And, then it just happened in midsentence for me.

Our SUV was slammed from the side by a large pick-up truck going at a very high rate of speed. It happened so quickly there was no way my husband could have seen the guy coming. He was driving right beside us and basically side-stepped into our car, causing our mirrors to hang and ours to be jerked off and the our SUV to jerk to the right as he peeled away. We suddenly both found ourselves unable to form full sentences.
"Wha...what was tha....?"
"Did he just...?"
"What is he..."

Then, it hit me. He'd just plowed into our CAR! He hit on the drivers' side...with both of my kids IN BACK! I looked back to see my son crying and quickly assessed that he was OK and just upset from the shock of it all.

My husband's anger set in as he began telling me to pull out the digital camera (which I did not have) or a pen. I quickly wrote down the license plate as we continued to watch the Ford barrel down a traffic-congested freeway, swerving between cars and trying to squeeze itself between two lanes of full traffic and the shoulder at times.

I had one thought. Someone is going to get killed. I grabbed my phone and called 911. We reported the license plate,the make of the car, and the location and told the dispatch it was a possible DWI. Who in their right mind would drive like that on a freeway full of cars unless they were being chased or drunk out of their mind? As we watched the truck speed further away from us, we noticed a second car in front of them, that seemed to be the object of their hurry. It was some sort of chase, most definitely.

Once we had reported the car, we got off the freeway to inspect the damage and file a report. Forget the big dinner with the turkey and family members telling their usual funny stories. It was at this point that I got my real thanksgiving moment. I kept saying over and over, "Thank goodness we're all OK. Thank goodness no one was hurt."
And, amazingly, we found that our SUV did not have the entire left side bashed in. In fact, the only damage was to the mirror, which still baffles us because of the huge jolt we felt to the right when he hit us. The policeman who talked to us said that most likely it was young kids racing down the freeway and that it happens all the time. They did have an officer who reported seeing the same truck going at a very high rate of speed a few exits down from where we were hit. But, we definitely got the sense that nothing was going to happen to the driver if they did manage to catch him. How reassuring...

Today, the local news reported that a young mother around my age ran her car into the back of a semi-truck on the freeway that runs right by our neighborhood. Officers on the scene felt like she must have dozed off or had something distract her where she did not even realize she was going to hit the truck because she never slowed down. She was killed instantly.

This week, I have been reminded that I have a lot of reasons to be thankful. I have my family and my health. We are all here in one piece, even if we can bicker and complain when gathered with family for too many days in a row. Things could have been so much worse with our crazy side-swiping accident. Or, I could have lost attention behind the wheel one of the many times my kids distracted me as I drove, and I might not be here to tell about it either.

Big turkey dinners and family arguments aside, I feel truly blessed for every minute that I have on this earth. And, that's a lesson I hope to never forget.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Nicole said...

It's funny how things like this really jolt us into an appreciation of what we have. I spun out across a four lane freeway on black ice once in Michigan (pre-kid) and landed safely on the shoulder with relatively little damage.

One of those moments that makes you look up and say "Thank you thank you thank you."

10:59 AM, December 06, 2006  
Blogger Masked Mom said...

Wow--so glad you're all okay. It's pretty scary the almost casual attitude from the police though.

4:07 PM, December 06, 2006  
Blogger LadyBugCrossing said...

Wow - first you and now Jane over at Cozy Reader. I'm staying home!!
Glad you are okay.
xo
LBC

PS still waiting on your address to send you the Devil...

4:11 PM, December 07, 2006  

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