If you do nothing else this holiday season, please, please drive safely.
It is so easy in the hecticness of the holiday season to get caught up in your own personal "to do" list. If anything, I am more guilty than most about that. With Snowflake's birthday hovering at just a few days before the big day, I get to pour on birthday stress into what already tends to be a stressful season. But, this year, as I am rushing around trying to get teacher presents, staff presents, family presents and birthday presents, I am much more aware of what is actually important. And, the fact of the matter is, the people who love me the most are not going to disown me if I don't get everything done. My family isn't going to stop being my family if for some reason I was to miss getting something under the tree for them. (Although the kids might not feel that way if Santa were to forget them).
No. The people who love me know, that what is most important under the tree is each other. And this season not everyone will have that joy.
A few weeks ago, on Nov 17th, one of my close friends lost her two and a half year old in a tragic parking lot accident. The lady in question was not backing up, the boy in question did not break away from Mom and run out into the road, there was, as I understand it, no drinking or texting or cell phone usage. My friend's sweet boy was standing next to the car in the exact place he was supposed to be. The lady was just in a hurry and didn't see him. And now my friend's life, as well as all those around her, is changed forever. It is like ripples in the pond; it is strongest at the center, but rippling ever outward to everyone who knew him. In her own words she wrote:
Bram was hit by a lincoln navigator, when standing next to our car. The driver "just didn't see him." She was looking for a parking space. So if you think this could never be you, think of how many times you've been in a parking lot with your child or children. Standing next to our car wasn't enough to protect him. Standing near his dad wasn't enough to protect him. He didn't dart out. He was just there. But her car was too big, her mind too distracted, and she hit him, his head was crushed, causing severe cranial fractures, instantly brain dead but his body held on for 28 minutes....This could have been ANYONE, but it was me. It was my baby. It was Bram. Our family is missing a huge piece.
So, as we are all going about our busy lives this Christmas I implore you; watch where you are going, pay attention to your surroundings and remember the real priority is not one more gift under the tree, but instead, making sure that every family gets to enjoy a safe and happy holiday season together. The fact is that it could happen to any of us, on either side of the tragedy. A mistake takes just a second, but it's ramifications can last a lifetime.
And if you think of it, please say a prayer for my dear friend who has a long, long road to travel.