Car Crashes and Other Not So Fun Stuff

The words seemed to hang in the air as a slow wave of fear formed in the pit of my stomach. This was the second time in less than a year the phrase, “Mom I crashed,” was being spoken to me. I immediately pulled off the highway to talk to my 17 year old son on the other end of the phone.

The Salinas Valley Fair was coming up later in the week and we were planning to camp nearby as Cory and Olivia showed their pigs they raised for a 4H project. The problem was the campground filled up faster than expected and we were without a reservation—landing us 27th on the waiting list for overflow.

Ed had talked to a John-Candy-look-alike ranger over the weekend who said he had 7 sites with hook-ups set aside and was willing to sell them starting on Monday: first come, first serve.

We didn’t NEED to start camping ‘til Wednesday, but Eddie knew I NEEDED full hook-ups so he decided to drive our RV to King City early. Cory was going to drive the 90 minutes down to give him a ride home.

As Cory was walking out the door, I stopped him and delivered a passionate speech about the dangers of driving highway 101 during the evening commute through Salinas… lots of speeding cars navigating only two southbound lanes. He promised to be careful.

“Mom. I’m fine. I was in a car accident, but I’m fine,” I willed myself to remain calm as the story unfolded. Cory explained a mini-van had suddenly pulled in front of the line of cars causing everyone to slam on their brakes. He managed to stop in time, however, the guy behind him did not… rear-ending the corner of Cory’s truck and landing in a ditch.

At this point I launched into a second impassioned speech telling Cory to NOT let the other guy leave the scene of the accident. (Apparently the “landed in a ditch” part of the story was not registering.)

“Take a picture of his driver’s license, license plate, insurance card, your truck… EVERYTHING.”

Cory quickly hung up stammering something about needing to get his truck off the road. WHAAATTT?? !

Ed and Cory were both stranded and while Cory’s truck was not drivable, Ed seemed to be not reachable, and I was 40 minutes north of the accident.

It’s a mixture of feeling sick, relieved and very emotional all at the same time.

I got back on the highway heading south toward Cory while trying to reach Ed. About 15 minutes down the road, Cory called, letting me know a fireman had tweaked the back end of his truck and he was able to keep driving toward his dad. He again assured me that although his head had snapped forward and then back, he had not hit it against anything and felt fine.

Ed was a bit shocked at what had transpired and super frustrated with his phone… not one text or voicemail had come through.

The guys slowly made their way home with Ed driving (I realize I don’t usually use slowly and Ed’s driving in the same sentence) and Cory sleeping. Cory seemed slightly dazed from all that happened and had a headache. He continued saying he was fine, just a bit shaken up and trying to process the last couple hours.

The next morning, he was acting SO strange— groggy, frustrated and unable to stay on task with getting ready. I knew his allergies were bad, but he absolutely had to go school. It was the week before finals and he was already going to be missing Thursday and Friday for the fair. He had a math quiz that morning along with tons of reviewing in his other classes.

I let him take his time getting out the door, providing him with a note excusing his tardy, allergy medicine and ibuprofen.

Within the hour the school nurse called wanting to send Cory home. She suspected he had a concussion and needed rest. I felt like the worst mom ever! I hadn’t even mentioned the crash in the note, blaming his tardiness on severe allergies. It never even crossed my mind!

Our doctor confirmed Cory was displaying all the symptoms of a concussion. He explained it can happen even though his head hadn’t hit anything. The whiplash movement of the sudden jerking was enough to cause the problem. He was most likely able to function so well the night of the crash due to the rush of adrenaline.

Cory was to take a break from academics and screens… phone, computer, tv. Nothing cognitively taxing for a few days.

The next afternoon we were headed back to King City for the fair. On the drive down, a friend called and we began chatting about our families. She shared how she and her husband spend a few minutes every morning praying together for their kids and how it’s making all the difference. I texted her later asking what they specifically pray about.

This is what she said:

“We pray that God will allow us to accept our kids the way God created them and show us how we can support them. We have prayed to let go of our expectations of what we thought our kids should be like and ask for wisdom to recognize them for who God made them to be. We pray for protection and for God to send good people into their lives to help them along. We pray for the strength to turn off the Xbox One! Haha. We thank God for the lessons they teach us and for the opportunity to grow closer to God as we journey together through the ups and downs of being a family.”

Isn’t that BEAUTIFUL!

My friend went on to say how much God is blessing their marriage because of this daily discipline of a few minutes of prayer together.

It was a good reminder to Eddie and me to not let the busyness of life crowd out the most important thing.

Cory recovered and is doing really well. I find myself copying my friend’s prayer outline for Jessica, Cory and Olivia… with A LOT of emphasis on the protection part for my little mister! …

… He’s gonna need it ’cause I JUST discovered he ate all the ice cream!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Little Piggy

Jessica was leaving the livestock scale, walking back toward the pigpens. As she approached, I was trying to decipher the look on her face. Sadly, her eyes met mine as she reported, “270 pounds.” It was officially devastating.

It had been a fun-filled day getting to this point with some of our favorite friends. My children, Jessica and Cory, had raised hogs for 4H. We had laughed our way through the morning – not only packing up ourselves- but driving house to house loading up the eight pigs that would be entered in the fair.

Getting pigs to cooperate in any way, shape or form- let alone walk straight into the back of a trailer- can prove to be very entertaining.  One of our friend’s hogs put on quite a show as it charged back and forth escaping our grasp.  We chuckled while chasing it, redirecting it back to the goal.

The kids had worked hard over the last four months preparing for this day.  Pigs have to weigh between 200-260 pounds to qualify for this fair.  Mind you, they can gain 20 pounds a week and lose 10 pounds a day if under stress.  It is rather a game to get them to the target weight.

Eddie had really researched the best approach to take, talking to many friends and experts in the field.  Jessica’s pig seemed to be right on schedule.  The last month as her pig started to climb rapidly in pounds, she- along with Ed- made the needed adjustments to be sure the animal would not be too big.

We weighed her pig, Kevin, at home before leaving for the fair.  He weighed 270, ten too much.  Eddie tentatively felt it would be okay.  Everyone had assured us that the hogs would drop 10-15 pounds traveling the hour to the event.

Kevin did not drop an ounce.  We were completely baffled, especially after hearing how another pig in our group lost 30 lbs. over the last twenty-four hours.

A few of us gathered around Jess, offering comfort as best we could.  Not only would her hog have to leave the swine barn immediately, she would not be allowed to participate in all the planned activities.  There were to be two days of different showmanship events, concluding with an auction on the third day- which is the most anticipated time of the week.  AND… to top it all off… it was Jessica’s birthday!

As all the ramifications began to hit me, especially the one of not being able to sell the pig- I noticed a friend of Jessica’s making her way over.  Bridgett is a wonderful young lady who has experienced having a pig not make weight.  She approached Jessica and said the most profound words… “Well, Jess, it’s all part of the journey.”

That struck a chord in me as I began to make all kinds of spiritual and practical applications.  We are all on a journey where the only thing we can actually control is our response to it- our attitude and our faith.  Bridgett was encouraging Jess to embrace the adventure, hang on and see what happens.

Jessica had some options with how to respond.  She possibly could blame her dad, questioning his methods or she could choose to trust that Eddie would work this out.  Also, she was now stuck at the fair for the next five days with no pig to show, watching her friends participate in everything she would miss.  Depression or poutiness could easily be a natural response.

Isn’t it the same with us when our journey takes us to an unexpected place?  Questioning God.  Blaming God.  Becoming depressed.  Angry.  With each twist in the road there is opportunity to express faith in our Heavenly Father.

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  That is the ultimate verse on faith.  God plans to give us hope and a future.  How much do we trust Him when it appears things are not working out?  Do we believe what the verse says?  God knows the plan.  All we need to know is that He knows.  He knows the plan, the journey.

So… while it is “all part of the journey,” – it is really all about HOW we journey.  HOW are you doing?

And… just to tell you the rest of the story…   Jessica’s attitude was exceptional.  She cheered on her friends, even stating that she was glad it happened to her and not to Cory.  A few times she acknowledged she felt sad, but she knew that her dad would work something out.

Eddie did find a buyer for “Kevin.”  It was somewhat miraculous in that the buyer was willing to pay a good price for the pig, which meant Jess actually made a nice profit.  Makes me think of the “all things work together for good” verse!