April 28th was my son’s nineteenth birthday. The morning starts off in usual fashion- a “good morning” greeting; a “happy birthday” wish; a quick prayer and then an admonition to be safe on the roads. I then leave for work at the dark hour of 5:40.
Two-and-a-half hours later, I walk out of the wrapper room and head for the brown, metal lockers. Number 425. Right, left, right, then “click” as the lock releases. I slide my cellphone out of the little zippered pocket on the front of my black, worn Kavu bag, Mindlessly, I enter the passcode and open Messages. There’s one message.
My heart stops for a moment.
“I got in an accident. I’m okay and so is everyone else. Daddy’s picking me up.”
I latch onto the words “I’m okay”, hoping to find relief in those words. But the thoughts of “what could’ves” and “what did” run helter-skelter in my mind.
Glad that he is okay, my mind then wanders to the car. Is it okay? Who is at fault? My heart sinks with the negative implications if he is at fault. But I don’t voice that to him when I respond back to his text. Instead, I tell him I am glad, very glad, that he is okay. It is then time for me to get back to the grind.
Anxiously, I go through the motions of work until time to leave. I have half the day off to spend time with him on his birthday. When 10:30 rolls around, I clock out, grab my belongings out of the locker and race out of the building to my car.
I can’t get home fast enough as the realization of his having been in an accident hits me more and more deeply.
As soon as I walk through the front door, he walks toward me and we embrace each other for a few moments. And then I have to ask the question.
He tells of noticing that traffic had stopped on a busy, fast-paced highway, so he slowly approached the line-up and then stopped. Unfortunately, the young lady behind him wasn’t paying attention and bumped into him, likely only denting and scratching the back fender. But we’ll never know those specifics because the person behind her was also not paying attention AND was driving fast. He slammed into her which caused her vehicle to push my son’s into the truck in front of him. A four car pile-up that left no one injured, but crushed the young lady’s car and my son’s enough to make it undriveable.
It all happened in a matter of a few short seconds. The most he remembers is having his head jerked around like a bobble-head doll.
After he concludes his dramatic tale, I ask how he is doing. He grins and says, “I’m doing pretty good, under the circumstances.” He then says something that makes this momma cry…
“I’m just thankful I’m here to enjoy my birthday.”
We vow we will do just that. And we did.
Time is short and precious. We have no promises for tomorrow, next year. We don’t even have promises for this day, but we do have the promise of each moment. Grab hold of them, soak in every detail, live in that moment as if it is the last.
That’s where I find fulfillment.
We had a wonderful day celebrating the life God has given him.
I wouldn’t trade this guy for any other.