The Accident

They're funny things, Accidents. You never have them till you're having them.
-Winnie the Pooh-

Sunday eight of our kids, my husband and I piled into our big, red, fifteen-passenger van and ventured out for a 3 1/2 hour ride to hear our adopted grandfather preach. After his inspiring, invigorating sermon, we piled back into our van with the goal of… home before midnight. The next day Daddy’s schedule was booked full of patients, and the kids and I had presentations to present, and papers to turn in at our home school co-op.

Caden our two-year-old protested loudly when he was buckled back into his car seat after the service for the ride home. His body language said, You have got to be kidding; I just got out of this thing and I have no intention of getting back in it, or at least without a fight.

And fight he did! That child cried like a well-conditioned soprano for thirty solid minutes, until Daddy had had enough! Wearily the big red van pulled into a McDonald’s drive through and six large fries were ordered. The plan was to stuff the kids, mainly Caden, full of fries, so they (he) would sleep the rest of the way home. While we were waiting on the fries, Troy ran inside and pumped several little paper cups full of ketchup for easy dipping. 

Finally, everyone was paired and each person held either a carton of French fries or a cup of ketchup, and we were off once again on the journey home. However, the baby was not impressed with his snack and the screaming continued.

“Alexis, trade places with me and I will console him." Please Lord!

I moved to the middle seat on the first bench and sat on my knees facing the seat behind me. I sang every song I knew to the fussy toddler, while he pulled on his shoulder straps, and pointed to his chest buckle because he wanted free! I tickled his feet, unbuttoned his shirt, checked his temperature, smelled his diaper, and offered more fries, but to no avail, so I turned around, put on my seat belt, sat down and wished for earplugs.

Then… *BANG!!!!*

Smoke filled the car, children screamed, air bags sagged; the car exploded French fries. 

Then all was still. 

After the shock of the abrupt halt in our moving car, the doors flung open and we no longer had one crying child, but seven sobbing, ketchup covered, French fry laden, shaken children. (My fifteen-year-old son was the only kid with tear ducts in tact.) They piled out of the car and onto the highway like wounded comrades. I was suddenly aware of how fast life can change on a dime.

The man that pulled into our lane coming towards us miraculously survived the impact from our large vehicle. He met us at our van with a look of horror on his face when he saw the kids dripping red and bawling their eyes out. He began to apologize profusely, checking children from head to toe. He was mortified and took full responsibility while weeping.

Both cars appeared totaled. We will get the final word from both insurance companies in a few days. We praise God for His total protection. It would not have been unusual for me to be holding Mr. Fussy, but Troy and I were unusually adamant on this trip that everyone stayed buckled. No doubt, it was the Lord’s hand. 

We also consider it a huge blessing that I moved from the front seat to a bench. According to the instructions on the visor, impact from an airbag would be lethal for me because of my height. (Not to mention my pregnant swollen belly) Alexis is quite a bit taller than me and her response to taking the impact was so precious, a bit heart wrenching for a mom to hear, but still precious.

“Oh Mother, I am so thankful it was me! Oh mom! It could have been you!!!

She was the only one truly dripping blood, and not ketchup after the accident; her bottom lip tripled in size, her neck was sore the next morning and her arm ached from the burns the airbag delivered, but these are all injuries that will heal over time, and we thank the Lord for that.

Two helpful policemen and one policewoman took us to a Best Western where all of our over night needs were met with much kindness. The policewoman gave us the name of a friend with a generous heart. The next morning this woman arranged a ride so Troy and I could get to the next city where we could rent two cars in order to get home. 

It turned out that this saint of a lady is an old friend of my family. I’ve eaten her homemade kosher pickles and heard her name over the years, but I’ve never met her. She also let me know that she has been praying for my sister with cancer. Before we left the Best Western, her husband met us there to make sure we didn’t need anything else. A great deal of kindness was shown to us in that little town; I feel like I have some new close friends. It is a small world!

Thank you all for your thoughts, prayers, calls, texts and emails. We now have several weeks of dealing with insurance companies, visiting our chiropractor and looking for another vehicle large enough to tote us. God is good; He is sovereign and faithful.