A Lesson From One Mom to Another

I elect to live life by focusing on the positive rather than the negative. I naturally see the cup half full rather than half empty. Friends and business associates will tell you that I make decisons by looking at the worst case scenerio and comparing all the positive elements against what “might” happen. In the end, the worst case scenerio is never as bad as you expect. Recently however, the worst case scenerio was very bad- in fact it could have meant the lives of any one of my children or, in the very worst case, my entire family.

We were on vacation in Ireland last week and rented a van to explore the country side. On the third day of our trip, we were driving on a beautiful two lane road in Northern Ireland on the way to visit newly discovered distant relatives. The kids were in the back playing games, listening to iPods and engaging in the usual teasing. I was in the front passenger seat, which in Ireland is on the left side, while my husband drove from the right side of the van on the left side of the road. The whole driving on the “wrong” side of the road had kept me on one buttock for the first two days, but I’d finally become comfortable with my hubby’s driving skills. We were at least 20 miles from the closest village. As I looked ahead I saw a farm tractor approaching from the opposite direction. Apparently my husband moved too far to the left shoulder of the road to let the tractor pass, because the next thing I recall is the van leaving the road and the site of crash on the front window. I recall hoping that the car would stop rolling at which time it stopped with a loud thump.

I don’t know what propelled me into the backseat, but my natural instincts were to get to my children. I could hear them crying, which I realized later was a good sign. No sound would have been a terrible silence. I stood up in the back seat; only it wasn’t the floor beneath my feet, but rather the left passenger side door. The right side passenger door was now the roof of the car. My oldest son was actually belted to his seat but was above my head. Another was belted into their seat at my feet. My daughters were screaming from the third row seat, also buckled it. Thankfully, no one was hurt and there were no trees, posts or rocks where we landed. Worst case scenerio in this situation could have been a tree going through a window or a child disobeying the seatbelt rule. It’s difficult for me to imagine and I won’t allow my mind to go there. The vision of my son hanging above my head in his seat is enough for now.

This is the part of the story that I would like to turn into a positive. At this point, my goal was to get my children out of the van safely; however it was the most difficult challenge I had that day. Try to open the windows of a van without power or open the sliding door of a van when it’s above your head. It’s nearly impossible. Actually, it was impossible. Then try to find something in a van to break the windows. Shoes, iPods, PSPs or coolers won’t do it. Here’s where I’d like to turn my challenging situation into a positive for others. There’s a tool that will cut your seatbelts and puncher the glass in your windows available. It’s as inexpensive as $10.00 online at Safety Central http://www.safetycentral.com/emeswinpunse.html

If you don’t have one, buy one tomorrow. My thought today, as I have my family safely home, is that if we had experienced this accident in Florida our van would have been in a canal. In water, there would have been no way for me to get my children out of a sinkng car. There’s a lesson to learn from my experience and I hope it will save a life one day because another mother was prepared.

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