A car accident and what might’ve been

I wrote this on the 1 year anniversary of a car accident Darling and the two older girls were in. In retrospect, it was a fairly minor accident. Sunshine was the only one who ended up with injuries–getting 12 stitches. It was such a significant event for us as a family, though, so I am posting it here.

Sometimes, it is important to remember the things that could’ve happened, but didn’t.

Written October 2007.

It’s been a year. A year filled with wonderful memories, and significant family events. A year of watching you grow and laugh and smile and turn from 7 to 8.

It could have been so different. I look at the pictures of the car and your stitches and my heart stops. It all happened in a flash and it could’ve been so different.

Daddy was taking you, your best friend Zoe, and Pixie to your karate show. I’m sure the car was filled with the excited chatter of 3 girls. Daddy didn’t see the on-coming car as he turned and your side of the car was hit. The window shattered and you were hit with flying glass.

But, it could’ve been so different. You had your head turned to Zoe, so you didn’t get any glass in your eyes. You didn’t hit your head on the steel beam of the door frame and end up with brain damage. Zoe and Pixie only had a few scratches from the glass and a bit of soreness from their seatbelts, as did Daddy.

Getting the call from Daddy was one of the worst moments of my life. “Everyone is okay,” he said, “but we’ve been in a car accident and I need you to come help me with the girls.” I could hear the sirens of the arriving fire trucks in the back ground.

I don’t know how I drove the few blocks to the intersection where the accident happened. I remember seeing the ambulance and fire truck and the feeling of not being able to get to you fast enough. I somehow parked the car, grabbed Reece in her car seat and ran to you. You were outside of the car with your head wrapped in an enormous bandage. Thankfully, your karate outfit was black and I didn’t see any blood. The first thing you said was, “Mom, I’m okay, I’m okay” as we both cried and held each other.

You were so brave as they stitched up the laceration on your temple. You ended up with 12 stitches and a bunch of smaller cuts in your scalp. Your daddy said that watching you get stiches was the hardest thing he has ever done. I remember his eyes filling with tears as our gazes met while the doctor worked on you.

But it could’ve been so different. As Daddy and I held each other that night when you and your sisters were in bed, we cried in gratitude that we still had 3 little girls to tuck in.

The trauma of that event has passed, but it has marked our family. I know we all think of it every time we pass that spot on the road, and sometimes I will reach back and give your knee a little squeeze. I am so grateful to have you, especially when I know what a different ending this story could’ve had.

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