Friday, June 17, 2005

Keeping God and His angels busy

Today, I had a lunch date. Mom and Dad stayed last night with my grandmother (Mom's mom), and they are staying the rest of the weekend with us. It's been a while since I've seen my grandmother, even though she only lives an hour away, so I decided to take Luke and meet them for lunch. And for some reason, fate decided I needed a reflex check on the way there.

I needed to get from I-285 to I-20 (that would be 285 South to 20 East, for those in the area). At that junction, there are five lanes, and the road pretty much splits; three curve off to the left, continuing 285, and three go straight, becoming the exit ramps for each direction of 20, with the center of the 5 lanes forking and becoming two lanes at the separation point. I was in that center lane, since my ramp would split off to the left. The person in front of me in my lane curved to continue on 285. They had been going quite slowly, so once they turned, I sped up a little. I knew there was a lunatic flying up behind me, so I looked in my rear view mirror to see if it would be better to let him go around me, or for me to get over a lane and let him continue on past me. I decide to stay in my lane, as he had just switched to the next lane to the right to pass me.

As I look back in front of me, the person in front of me who had curved to take 285 had apparently changed their mind, and were merging back into my lane, going slower than they had been, though moving laterally very fast to get to the I-20 lanes before they hit the retaining wall. Since I had been speeding up, I was gaining too quickly, and I knew I was going to hit him. Mr. Lunatic had just passed me, so I hit the brakes and turned the wheel to the right to try and avoid the collision. Well, I was a little freaked, and it all happened so fast, that apparently I hit the breaks and/or turned the wheel hard enough to lock down the brakes and start swerving. So now I'm swinging wildly all over the three lanes, right, then left, then right, then as I went back to the left, I started spinning, all with screeching tires and the smell of burning rubber everywhere. I think I turned just shy of 270, ending up stopped somewhat diagonally across the right two lanes facing oncoming traffic, (which, let me tell you, is terrifying on an three-lane wide interstate exit ramp).

And I never hit a single car or barrier or anything. Not a single scratch or dent on me, Luke, my car, or anyone else's. There is only one possible way that could have happened; God and His angels were very busy on our behalf. I knew I needed to get out of the road. Everyone in the far right lane had bailed left to get out of my way. Everyone in the center lane had slowed enough not to hit me. I was taking up parts of both of them. I knew it would be faster to just back up, so I finally got the car in reverse (couldn't remember how the gear shift worked, forgot to push the button) and backed into the emergency lane, facing the right direction.

And I promptly fell apart. I was bawling like a little girl. Luke was just cooing and playing, like he'd had the time of his life on this new thrill ride. I guess you know you're a "real mom" when you get into a situation like that where formerly you would have prayed "please let me be okay," and instead, the ONLY thought running through your mind is "I don't care what happens to me, please just let my baby be fine."

From where I was in relation to the ramp and everything, there was no place to go but to get onto I-20. I sat for a good five minutes, waiting for a big enough break to get over two lanes so I would be going towards lunch. I briefly contemplated just going back home, but the first exit is hideous to try and turn around on, due to heavy construction, and by the time I got to the second exit, I was closer to being at the restaurant than I was to being home, so I just kept going. Started bawling again as soon as I saw *my* mom, but that's okay. I let her drive from the restaurant back to my grandmother's, but I drove us home (with Mom in the front seat to help keep me calm and sort-of talk me through it). It was just something I needed to do. Not sure how I'll react the next time I have to make that same merge at that junction, but at least I know I can drive on the interstate again without freaking out too badly.

I'm pretty sore in my arms and my upper back from clenching down on the steering wheel so hard, and I'm not sure if I'll show seatbelt marks or not. I don't think so, but Mom says maybe. Other than that, and still being a little shaken up, I'm fine. Luke seems fine too, but I'll probably give him preventative pain meds the rest of today and tonight before bed, and we'll just see how he's doing tomorrow.

Currently feeling: thankful

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