The day my life spun out of control


I was probably thinking about boots when the white SUV pulled out. I was probably thinking ponytail or blow out when the brakes locked up. I was probably deciding to skip shaving my legs, wondering if I was (still) running a fever, and just generally thinking about all my petty little first world problems when the vehicle — our vehicle — piloted by our 17-year-old son, with our 15-year-old daughter buckled into the passenger seat, went into a skid and slid across a busy roadway.

Hello, Mom?

What I do know is that when my cell phone rang at 7:32 a.m., I stumbled out of the shower to answer it because nobody calls to say “hey” at 7:32 a.m. around here.

I saw our daughter’s face light up the flashing screen. Her contact photo is one of my favorites. I answered it, slightly alarmed but not overly so. She forgot something maybe?

What I heard was, “Mom? We almost had an accident. We’re scared … and we’re in some guy’s yard.”

I heard her say repeatedly, “You’re OK?” Then “We’re OK.”

I knew they were safe. I was speaking to her and yet I couldn’t stop shaking.

Mr. Wonderful left immediately to go ensure that they really were fine — much like we check over our newborns even after the doctor has assured us they are perfectly healthy. He just had to see for himself and report back to me.

Later he would tell me that there wasn’t a scratch on either child — or the car. I don’t have to tell you that I had never once even thought about the car.


The facts are this: At some point around 7:30 on a crisp, clear Friday morning, our children were traveling to school on a road less than two miles from our home. This is a road they’ve traveled thousands of times in their short lives. One that my son has been driving for just over a year now himself.

They had the right of way. Yet, when our car was almost at the intersection of two roadways, a white SUV simply pulled out in front of them. Maybe the driver was in a hurry? Maybe it was a mistake? I don’t know.

What I do know is that I was thinking about stretch pants and sweaters — or maybe razor blades and body wash — when my son was instinctively slamming on the brakes to avoid a collision. When the anti-lock brakes engaged, the car skidded on the ice. Girlwonder said it all happened fast, but slow. The small SUV my children drive is old, but sturdy.

I was probably coordinating clothing in my head as our son with just over one year’s experience behind the wheel — always a cautious driver — was steering them clear of the accident, across a (blessedly) filled ditch and into the driveway of a neighboring property.

The white SUV that caused all this? They never even stopped. Never. Even. Stopped.

Who does that?


The last thing I said to our daughter as she left that morning was I can’t wait until I can hug you again. You see I hadn’t actually hugged my very-willing-to-hug-me children in two days. I’ve been really sick. Germs you know.

So on the morning when the vehicle containing my whole world was sliding across an icy road, I had not kissed my children goodbye. Germs be damned, I will not make that mistake again.

It would be tempting to vilify the driver of the white SUV. I was certainly on the warpath Friday morning (after I got done crying all the way to work). I was truly certain I hated them.

The thing is, I don’t. I bet the person in the white SUV didn’t mean to almost kill my children and themselves. I’m sure they weren’t intending to put my whole world and all that makes my life worth living at risk. They were probably thinking about something else, maybe turning the radio dial, or, God forbid, they were on the phone.

Whatever it was I can promise you it wasn’t more important than my children — or their own life.

I don’t know why we were so lucky on Friday morning at approximately 7:30 a.m. I just know that I am eternally grateful that we were. I know I am blessed beyond measure.

What I do know is that at approximately 7:30 a.m. on a crisp, clear Friday morning, I was thinking about boots and body wash when my whole world momentarily spun out of control.

I thank God for Friday and that with His help and a whole lot of Guardian Angels — we got it back.

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