Friday, August 3, 2012

Sometimes, Life's a Total Wreck

Lily Ruth and I slept in yesterday. By slept in, I mean that it was after 10 o'clock when we woke up. We both needed the sleep. Between my insomnia and her nonstop approach to life, we were a bit overtired.

Once we decided to wake up, we smiled sleepily at each other, and she started babbling happy morning nonsense. I grabbed my phone to check the time, and saw a text from Lily Ruth's Daddy - it was over an hour old. 'Good morning!' It greeted me cheerfully.

"I'm going to call Daddy and tell him good morning."
"O.k., I'm going to go in the living room!" She slid off the bed feet first and padded off.

I can hear lots of highway noise as he answers. Not a surprise as he was driving to Houston for a deposition.

"Hi! Where are you guys?" His voice was loud and overly cheery.
"At home - why?" I answered cautiously.
"Good. I need you two to jump in the car and head for Seguin to pick me up. I just totaled the car."

I was completely confused. His tone was all Hail Fellow,Well Met but the message conveyed was terrifying. I started scrambling for clothes as questions fought for space in my mouth.

"Are you o.k.?"
"I'm fine. I just need for you to come pick me up. The officers should be done with me by the time you get here."
"Oh. Um. We'll be right there..." Not strictly true as the drive alone is over thirty minutes, and I still had to get us both ready, but he took it in the spirit it was intended. "Great!"

It took me almost twenty minutes to leave the house. I was at a total loss. What would we need? How long would we be gone? Would we have to take him to the hospital? I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to find a bra, but I left Lily Ruth's hair wild and uncombed. I threw ridiculous combinations of blankets, pillows, bathing suits (swim lesson at 4 - mustn't forget!), art supplies, toys and snacks into the car in case we ended up needing to occupy our time someplace awful. By the time we left, I was milliseconds away from tears, and I desperately wanted to throw up. But I did neither - I had a child in the backseat, and if I fell apart... well, it wouldn't be fair to her, and it wouldn't do any good.

As instructed, I called him when we hit I-10. The cheerful tone continued: "Good! We're just about done here, and the officer is going to drop me off at the Home Depot a few exits away. I don't want you or Lily Ruth to see the car." That almost did it. I almost threw up again.

We found him in the parking lot surrounded by the detritus of a totaled car. Leather satchels, legal notebooks, sport coats... He was talking on the phone and pacing (as he always does). I pulled up next to him and jumped out - I just needed to touch him. Without breaking off his conversation, he hugged me with one arm and began loading his things into the car. I don't think he had any idea that he was shaking like a leaf.

Lily Ruth begins her interrogation from her carseat. "DADDY - did you have an accident in your car?" He hangs up the phone and gives her his full attention: "Yes I did, Boo. My car hit another car, but I am fine." She plugs her thumb into her mouth and twirls her hair tightly. I realized much later that to her, 'accident' means not making it to the potty in time. The news that something had happened to daddy AND his car was a surprise to her and the information was highly confusing.

He wouldn't show me pictures of the car until after we got home. He made the right choice.

We spent the rest of the day doing mainly accident-related stuff. A trip to the minor emergency clinic for a check up. Calls to the insurance company. Picking up a rental car and his prescriptions. I finally dropped Lily Ruth off with some friends around 5 o'clock. "I just need a minute to fall apart" I told them. I had kept it together the entire day because every time I even mentioned the accident, my tiny shadow would plug in that thumb and go a bit purple under the eyes.

I just hugged him for a while and sobbed. "This is probably harder for you than for me" he said. "I didn't have time to be scared, and by the time it was over, I knew that I was fine." I, on the other hand, had spent all day worrying about him. I just wanted to crawl into his body and check it out bit by bit. How could they know if he's o.k.? Shouldn't someone have come along shouting about a need for full body scans or something? Like some sort of lunatic, I just kept asking him if he was really all right or not.

I eventually pulled it together and went to collect our daughter. She spent the rest of the evening glued to us and nervously staring at our faces hoping for some kind of clue as to what was going on. We finally got her to talk to us about why she was scared, and it was mainly because she had no idea what had actually happened... and (like me) she was unconvinced that daddy was truly fine. Luckily, when you are three, mama and daddy can usually convince you that all is right in your world with fairly little effort. She fell asleep easily, and we settled in to our own bed to unwind.

As he always does, Don drifted off long before I did. I'm sure the pain pill helped. I stared at his silhouette in the dark, and listened for his breath. For once, I was thankful for the snoring.


Thank you, Lord for your presence in our lives. Thank you for keeping your hand on my husband. You kept him calm and saved his life. Thank you, thank you, thank you.


  1. HOLY COW! I can totally relate. We went through a similar experience when our son was a few months old. My husband called me from the other driver's cell phone to ask me to have his dad pick him up (it was our only car). I was like, what, who..??? but he was pretty calm just saying "I'm fine, the car's totaled, I'm fine, please call my dad, I have to go." UGH I was a wreck until I finally saw him 2 hours later.

  2. Wow, R, how very very scary. I would have lost my shit had I seen that photo as well. I'm glad to hear that D is alright - how was the other driver? Those accidents can really shake things up and make you realize what's important. Hang in there, Lady. Thinking of you...

  3. Thanks, Ladies. G - there were no other injuries, and Don's doing very well. A bit more rest, and he'll be tip-top :-)

  4. My goodness, so glad there were no injuries, so glad everyone's ok -- what a morning it must have been.

  5. RACHEL! I am just now catching up with your shenanigans, and I see there have been a multitude! Love and miss you and so glad Don is well enough TO START HIS OWN FIRM! Holy cow that's exciting!

  6. A - it was a very surreal morning with interludes of panic :-/ but it is beginning to faaaade as time passes :-)

    S - shenanigans aplenty around here... business as usual! Wouldn't do for it to get boring!!!

  7. A - it was a very surreal morning with interludes of panic :-/ but it is beginning to faaaade as time passes :-)

    S - shenanigans aplenty around here... business as usual! Wouldn't do for it to get boring!!!