Published for — HERE’s the link
Published for Deseret News — HERE’s the link
Published for Cross Timbers Gazette — HERE’s the link

The SUV hit me, launching me into the air before my body slammed back down onto the grocery
store parking lot.
I came to, shaking uncontrollably.  Someone was
putting pressure on the back of my head to stop the bleeding.  Several voices told me not to move, that the
ambulance was on its way.  I saw a man’s
feet approaching; he knelt down and asked my name, the date, my age and the
name of the President of the United States.
A woman wanted to know who she could call.
Because I was in shock, my answers were inarticulate.
But there was nothing fuzzy about one question that kept running through
my mind, “What was the last thing I said to each of my kids?”
The paramedics arrived, strapped me up, hoisted me into the ambulance, took my
vitals and stuck a needle in my arm (several times, in fact).  They asked me more questions, including the
name of the President of the United States.
A paramedic then took a gigantic pair of scissors and cut my absolute favorite
pair of jeans, all the way up the sides (adding serious insult to injury).  Semi-coherently, I tried to negotiate a deal
where they would reimburse the cost of the jeans — plus a teensy bit more for pain
and suffering.  They referred me to their
In the ER, I was disrobed and poked and prodded and CAT scanned and X-rayed.  And in a surprise move, the doctor even asked
if I happened to know the name of the President of the United States.
No disrespect to the President or his name, but I was much more concerned about
what I had last said to my kids.  While
waiting for test results, I finally had time alone and managed to remember
(with five kids and an addled brain, this was no easy task).
“I love you, sweetie!”
“Should I buy two or three dozen donuts for your birthday tomorrow?”
“How big is the world geography textbook you need a cover for?”
“I’ll be back in about half an hour, bud.  Don’t
forget to rinse your plate and put it in the dishwasher.”
“I’m taking your brother to his practice later, so Dad will be here in an hour to
pick you up.  Don’t be afraid of the
ball, sweetheart.  Have a great practice!”
Minutes after yelling those final instructions to my daughter as she dribbled her
basketball into the gym, I had parked my car in the grocery store parking lot and
started walking towards the entrance.
I understand that saying “I love you!” every time I talk to my kids would be
setting the bar a bit high.  But I didn’t
like that my score on that day was only one out of five.  In fact, it made me cry.
The doctor returned to report that I had suffered a concussion, scrapes, bruising and
pulled muscles — but no internal bleeding or fractures.
A police officer came in next, explaining how he had just interviewed witnesses
and watched the security video of the incident.
The driver had been driving too fast, looking down and hadn’t seen me
until too late. I had screamed and put both of my hands on the hood — as if
trying to push the SUV away — and in doing so had protected my torso from
taking a direct hit.
In fact, he emphasized, I had reacted exactly how I needed to in order to save
myself from serious injury or death.
The officer looked directly into my eyes and said, “I’ve seen a lot of accidents,
and you are very, very lucky.”
I believe it was more than luck.
Seeing as I’ve never been trained on how to deflect an oncoming SUV, I
felt nothing but profound gratitude for the unseen hands that guided mine, and that
cushioned my fall.  Clearly, it wasn’t my
time to go; the outcome could just as easily have been tragic.
Distracted driving.  We’ve all seen it.  Most of us have been guilty of it.  At what point do we decide that it’s simply
time to stop?  Many vehicles literally weigh
a ton, sometimes two.  Is a phone call or
text while driving, or even reaching to pick something up, worth what we’re
risking by letting ourselves be distracted?
Far too much is at stake. We have no idea whose lives could be forever
altered by our looking away.
It might be a mom, wearing her favorite pair of jeans, walking into a store to buy
donuts for her son’s 12th birthday.
The next morning, I heard my sister singing these words on my voice mail:
No New Year’s Day to
No chocolate covered
candy hearts to give away
No first of spring
No song to sing
In fact here’s just
another ordinary day
I’d never been more grateful for another ordinary day.