Monday, September 12, 2011

Levity

I returned home last evening from a little vacation.  My mother had been planning it for months, and we had been looking forward to it for just as long.  The plan was that I would fly from here to Ohio, where my sister would pick me up, and then we would drive from Ohio to Hershey, Pennsylvania.  In Hershey we would meet up with my mother, and my two sisters-in-law. Oh yes, and all the babies. For those who haven't been keeping track, or don't know my family, that's seven girls three and under, and one bubbling, bouncing baby boy.  We'd spend a week in Hershey, eating chocolate and whatnot, and then I was to drive back to Ohio with my sister, and then catch a plane back home, where there would be a happy reunion with Devin.  That was the plan.

Isn't there some sort of phrase about the best laid plans?  The thing about plans is that you really only have so much control over life.  There comes a point when, after having made your plan, you just have to let it play out as it will... and sometimes the outcome is not at all what you had planned it to be.

The drive from Ohio to Pennsylvania was supposed to take us ten hours, and we left at six in the morning, anticipating that we would get to our destination in time for dinner.  It was fairly smooth sailing, until we hit mile marker 119.3 on I-70, I-76.  I suppose someday I will forget the exact spot, but right now that's hard to imagine.  There was a flashing sign warning us that traffic was stopped up ahead, followed by two police cars pulled off on the shoulder with full lights and sirens blaring to alert us that we needed to slow down and prepare to stop.  And stop we did.  For three hours.

Did I mention it had been raining all day?  There is not a whole lot to do with four children in a van on the freeway in the rain - especially when said children and adults had already been in said van for seven hours.  We got out coloring books and colored for a while, we shared m&m's, and then when it became desperate my sister found an umbrella and took the little people for walks in the rain.  We watched a numerous host of men wander over, across the muddy grass to the fence, and women all up and down the freeway cursed nature's inequality.

My sister and I took pictures of the kids and we tried to keep a lighthearted attitude, making jokes about plans for awesome blog posts with titles like "What to Do with Four Babies in a Van in the Rain for Three Hours".  These jokes pretty much stopped when we learned why we had been sitting there for so long.

Apparently someone on a motorcycle had been going 90 miles an hour, despite the rain and fog and general low visibility and slick roads.  The car in front of him put on his brakes and the motorcyclist did not have time to stop.  The smiles vanished from our faces as we heard about this.  My sister took the kids four cars down to meet a nice dog and I sat in the van watching the drops of rain slip down the windshield.  I couldn't help but wondering why he had been going so fast in such awful driving conditions.  Was it a desperately important errand, as in he had just learned of a loved one in the hospital that he was rushing to see?  Or was it an errand of over inflated importance, such as being late for a job interview?  Or was it something incredibly trivial and ridiculous, such as the bike being new, and he was young, and doesn't it feel exciting to have the wind and the rain rushing by so fast?  I will of course, never know why he was going so fast, and so close to the car in front of him.  I will never know what family he left behind, and in what situations they now find themselves.  I suppose all I can really do is pray for his family, pray for the person in the car in front of him who had braked who has to deal with what happened, and urge caution for people everywhere when traveling.  Wherever you are going and for whatever reason, don't you think the most important thing is that you get there?  So please, make sure you get there.


5 comments:

  1. I am thankful we all got there and also that we all got back home again. I am savoring the good memories we had together.

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  2. You know what the funny thing is? THIS VERY DAY I was going to post about how many times I've been driving behind someone in Lincoln going 10 under and have to tell myself to take an extra strength chill pill (regular strength is fine for 5 under), but at the same time thinking, "Why am I the ONLY one that's ever late in Lincoln?!!" Really weird that then you wrote this post. Yep, the things I'm late for are not that important. I could also try being on time. But anyway, really, really good reminder!!

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  3. This makes me sad, but is a story worth telling. I could benefit from slowing down in my own life- where am I in such a rush to go that I would miss my kids childhood?

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  4. I hear you on this post. I always cringe and my heart skips a beat if I hear the phone ring after Jared has left for work. I worry about car accidents a lot! I am glad you were just stuck in the traffic jam, not the cause.
    By the way, I went private on my blog after seeing a horribly scary amount of views of a couple of my posts, like one titled, "Adorable Audrey."

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  5. Not sure what to say that I haven't already said to you, but I can't really imagine letting a post go by without a comment.

    Life can be short.

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