It was a gorgeous evening last night -- even the sunset on the water was a pastel dream. The entire family went fishing at Austin Lake. We all kept reelin' them in, but Brody caught the biggest guy, for sure. Gideon gets a little distracted, but Brody can sit there with his line in the water for hours. Gideon ended up gathering acorns and stacking up piles of them next to trees to make life easier for the squirrels. Yes, I want to squeeze him constantly. Also, Brody wanted to be the gentleman and kept putting new worms on my hook for me. Yes, I want to squeeze him constantly as well.
We were driving home when once again, we were reminded of the fragility of life. On Center, the light at Shaver/Westnedge was red. We stopped far behind the light to let someone pulling out of Lodos in front of us. We were stopped for a good fifteen-twenty seconds when we were rocked by a massive jolt. Tom and I bruised our heads a little but our boys were completely fine. They were very quiet and calm when I turned around. I am a little worried about Gideon's port as the seatbelt repositioned itself right on top of it and I'm sure it really pushed hard on him. Once I did turn around, Brody kept chanting, "We're okay! We're okay!" I could tell the back-end of our car was caved in, but I couldn't see much else.
Once Tom and I got out, I noticed an Oldsmobile wedged between our car and the mini-van that hit him. Both ends of his car were smashed in, and I didn't think the person inside could possibly still be alive. My first thought was "How am I going to get the boys out without them seeing?" While I was heartbroken for whoever was behind the wheel, this was my first instinct thought. I am hoping that makes me more of a protector of my babies than a heartless person. Had there been more than just the driver inside, I don't know what the outcome would have been. He was pushing down his airbag and talking to Tom, and I was instantly relieved.
The poor young mommy in the mini-van came running toward us with her littlest one clinging to her. They were both screaming and in hysterics. She kept choking out, "I'm so sorry! I'm so sorry! I didn't even tap the breaks! I was talking to my kids!" My heart broke for her, and I found myself hugging her and reassuring her more than my own two (who were more mesmerized by all of the sirens and lights, to be honest. They were counting them. "TWO police cars, TWO firetrucks, and an AMBULANCE! WOW!")
I listened as she told the police officer, "I was going 40 and I looked in my rearview mirror to talk to one of my kids, I only saw the green light ahead, and..." I'm thinking (although I was never the best Physics student) that she did end up hitting the breaks at least a little, or else things would have been even messier. The man in the Oldsmobile was taken out and he had a bloody elbow and a very swollen arm, but he could stand and walk! He really did cushion the blow to our car. Another what-if scenario that I don't want to really think about...at all.
The little boy and his mommy did not stop crying.
And then it turned into a mixture of an All-State commercial and a Hallmark card:
Brody, Gideon and I were in a parking lot waiting. I had toys out for them (we go nowhere without toys and blankets). That's when Brody suggested to Gideon that they give the little boy a toy from the bag. On their own, they picked out two sports car Hotwheels and asked if they could give them to the crying boy. Melt. I'm sorry, but I have the best kids on the planet. Empathy at three and five? They make me dizzy with love.
In the end, we were able to drive away. Our car started up and as we drove forward, the sound of the other car's metal peeling off of ours was a strange sensation. What was even more strange is that we were driving at all! Our airbag light is on (not sure what that means... I hope it doesn't just randomly explode in my face), the electrical inner-workings of our vehicle are not working, and the back of my Highlander is inverted, but we were able to go. I think it's time I name my car... she has earned it. The other two cars will never be on the road again. We are being looked out for, and that I can say with complete certainty.
Besides the fact that I won't be able to headbang-rock out to any 80's metal anytime soon, we are all completely fine. Now I am even more thankful than ever before... Here is a new perspective I've gained from all of this: Leukemia has been a difficult road, but at least we are on the road to health. Gideon will heal and get better. It'll be bumpy at times, but we are still on the road, just like we were still on the road after all of this happened. There are so many people lost in car accidents without any warning, without any shred of premonition. We are lucky and blessed. I would much rather be on this road than the what-if road scenarios from last night I have not been able to shake from the inside of my brain. I blame the brain-folds, things get stuck in there.
Hug and love on your family...right now. (I'm being bossy.)