It’s been a few weeks since my 5-yr-old daughter was hit by a car. She’s fine, and I can discuss it now without getting a sinking feeling in my stomach. What happened? I wasn’t there, but I’m told she crossed the street to get to the park, then saw her bike being unloaded from the car and ran back to get it.
Meaning, she ran blindly out into the street. Everyone saw the car coming and yelled for her to stop, but it was too late. The driver slammed on the brakes and swerved. I could act like a novelist now and describe the shattered glass, how my daughter lie sprawled on the road, passed out, and everyone thought she was dead. I think of the look on my husband’s face when he told me what happened, and I can’t do it – try to make this into a gripping, sympathetic story with the same elements I use in fiction. That’s for entertainment, and this is real.
I’ll just tell you what I said on the phone to my mom: “Don’t freak out. The doctor says nothing is broken, and other than a concussion and some scrapes and bruises, she seems okay. He’s doing a CT scan to make sure.”
I learned that the driver, a woman my age, was going about 30 mph in a Nissan Sentra when she swerved. The sideview mirror hit my daughter in the face. The mirror broke off and shattered the window. Explain how a 5-yr-old could take a 30-mph blow to the head and be okay? If I hadn’t already believed in guardian angels, I would have then. While waiting at the hospital with my daughter, I noticed black lines smudged down her leg – tire tread, where it had grazed her. A few inches farther to the right, and this would be a different kind of story.
I’m sharing this because she really is fine – you should have seen her three big brothers pampering her – and because I have something to say: Thank you, to drivers who are watching the road. You understand that the one second it takes to glance at a text message or grab something on the floor might be the one second you don’t have to spare. In the split second the driver of that Nissan swerved, she probably saved my daughter’s life.
We all know this, but it’s so easy to get distracted. Me, last month? Guilty as charged. I don’t wish the wake-up call I had on anyone, but I don’t just know it, now I get it. I want more people to “get it.” I could quote scary statistics about pedestrian fatalities, but I think it’s more effective to imagine what it’s like for the person behind the wheel when a pedestrian is hit. At fault or not, I wouldn’t wish that on anyone either. Think happy endings, everyone, and keep your eyes on the road!