You never think it’s going to be YOUR minivan on the side of the highway, wrecked.
That’s what happens to other moms. The ones you “don’t know”, right?
Disclaimer: I’m going to talk about car wrecks and trauma, so please don’t read if that will be too hard on you emotionally.
The day was going like any other busy, crazy, keep-all-4-kids-alive kind of day. See, I have 4 kids 7 years and younger, and we are a one-car family. My pretty blue Sienna minivan gets us from place “A” to place “B”, and everything in between-including taking my husband to work on the days I need the van.
It was Thursday, and we had a play date scheduled with a mom friend and her girls. Then I was loading up everyone in the car to head off to Dallas to pick up my husband from a job site before heading back to Tyler to photograph a family session.
At 1:46 pm we were accelerating on the interstate, the kids buckled and my 3 girls falling asleep in their car seats. And I was *only* running 10 minutes late.
I felt pretty darn proud. I mean, I was rocking this day! It was going to go smoothly.
Or so I thought.
My oldest son Kidron was quiet, in the middle seat, just watching the cars.
We had almost reached the Van exit, going the speed limit mind you, when it happened. I felt an odd bump under the wheel, like we ran over something. But I didn’t see anything, and then after it happened again. And seconds after, the car shook like I’ve never experienced.
“I can’t wreck here. I’m on the interstate!!! Maybe my transmission is falling out??” I thought quickly…. and then we hit the concrete wall. The next seconds went by so fast and so slow, like a weird clock.
The glass on my windshield shattered, and my world spun around me. Literally. It was a quiet calm, filled with terror as I realized- “I’m dying. This is it. We aren’t going to make it.”
No cries from my babies. No sounds, but my own voice.
“I can’t die. I’m not ready!” I cried out in my thoughts to God.
See, in the moment, I wasn’t afraid of dying. It was the “I haven’t finished what I want to DO!” thoughts that quickly scattered across my mind as the minivan continued flipping.
Every possible mom thought, of your kids lives being halted at too young of an age, goes thru your mind in a millisecond.
The car stopped flipping, and we were racing forward. And as I braced my body to hit something, or someone…. we tipped and landed with a hard THUD on the passenger side of the car.
I’ve never been a “car seat mom”.
In all honesty, I would panic anytime someone commented on a cute photo of my kid in a car seat, thinking they would give me a lecture on how they were buckled, if it was “correct”, and if the straps were just so.
But in this moment, to look back in sheer panic, wondering if my four sweet babies will be alive…. and see them all safely secured in their car seats…
We walked away from this crazy experience with no blood, no physical scars…but the emotional ones I’ll never forget.
There’s been a whole lot of praising God for his provision over here.
I could say a lot about everyone who stopped. How understanding they were, how shocked everyone was that we were “okay” (outside of a whiplash injury for me and misaligned backs for me and my son).
How the man who pulled me and three of my kids out of the car was calm, confident, and left the scene before I could get a good look at him. I found him later through his mom posting about her son helping a “young mom from Lindale” a few days later on Facebook and thanked him on a phone call.
But what really stood out to me was the nurse who was the first one to stop, who kept saying “It’s so good you have these car seats buckled in right.”
“Oh that’s my husband Paul’s doing…. he’s an engineer, so he made sure everything was perfect.” I told her.
Never have I been so thankful for him putting car seats in the car.
Two days later we were out in Tyler and bought the biggest, most ridiculously safe car seats I could find.
Because my babies are worth it.
And so are yours.
So, from one momma who never imagined I would go through this- to you, I just want to say…
- Don’t complain about how much carseats are.
- Don’t whine about how difficult it is to put the straps on right, or secure it to your car.
- Do not nag your husband about how long it takes to put them in the minivan.
- Don’t buy the cheapest seat and then spend more on their toys or shoes or pictures.
Your babies are completely worth every frustrated sigh as your husband fastens that huge car seat into your minivan-and I can tell you, you won’t regret it one bit.
and P.S. To my mom friends who gently and sometimes not so gently corrected me on where the straps went on my kids chests, and how tight it should be… thank-you. It worked.