As Kit was driving home from Fresno today along Ave. 9 (I was the poor soul in the seat next to her) we were having a lovely time chatting and listening to the radio. I was relaxed because she was doing a great job driving, for once not cringing and slowing to incredible speeds as cars approached her or as we came to a curve in the road. But as everyone knows who has driven that road, it narrows cruelly and the edges are rough and frequently torn up with small drop offs. We were almost to the freeway when Kit went off the shoulder of the road into the dirt. It was a pretty good drop-off and nearly at the same time (although she has no recollection of this) I yelled that she was off the road and she overcorrected back on. We were thrown into the oncoming lane fishtailing like crazy, but she overcorrected again and we headed to the right side of the road again straight towards a telephone pole. We were literally seconds from hitting it head on, but mostly on my side of the car and all I could think was, "Wow, I always wondered about those people who die hitting a telephone pole and now I'm going to be one of them. Ironic." But here's the part I can't explain. The front of the car was suddenly beyond the pole but the back tire hit it and we were off in the other direction again. She finally pulled off the road and slowed to a stop. The whole time this was happening, Kit was yelling, "What do I do? I don't know what to do!" Even when we were stopped, she said it over and over and then busted up crying. I kept saying, "You're okay. You did just fine. We are fine." Then I got out and on shaking legs looked to see how bad the back of the car was damaged. Nothing. Really, the back hubcap was off, the tire rim was full of weeds but not a bump or scratch. (I think because it was the camry and it has taken 15 years of abuse from many a kid and accident and it's kinda hard to see what injuries are new, but I pretty sure).
As we drove on home, I laughed a little shakily about Kit yelling what to do over and over. She laughed too because she thought that she was only thinking that, not saying it out loud. She said, "I couldn't think what to do so I just let you do it," but I didn't touch the steering wheel. I have to say one of my all time favorite songs to mock is Jesus take the wheel. Really the dumbest song ever. But I have now experienced something like the sentiment of that song. We were not in control of the car, but I am sure someone else was. I am sure it was He is who has held me together for the rest of the day and only now, at midnight, do all the what-ifs come pouring in and I can't sleep.
Here's what I am grateful for tonight:
- I am home, safe and sound only worrying about what could of happened and not what did.
- I have a 16-year-old daughter who doesn't have to bear the scars of causing a serious, if not fatal accident. Although several times today I have told her I'm not going to forget that she almost killed me today.
- The car that had been sitting on our rear bumper for 8 miles previously had for some reason fallen way back only minutes before so that when he passed us, we were safely on the side of the road.
- There was no oncoming traffic.
- I don't have to deal with expensive car repairs (insignificant in the scheme of things but a burden nontheless).
- A loving Heavenly Father who watches over us, even when we don't feel worthy or are even aware that we need watching over.
- There is only one more child to teach to drive. Maybe by the time he's old enough, I'll send him to one of his siblings for lessons. Not sure I can do it again. At least not today.