Sunday, July 22, 2012

Never a dull moment…

My husband and I have been planning a trip home to see our families for almost 2 years now, but it still seemed to sneak up on me as far as planning.  Can you ever really be totally prepared for taking 4 kids on the road for over 2000 miles of driving??
About a thousand miles into our journey, we stopped at my brother and sister-in-laws to visit and let the kids play with their cousins.  It was so fun and also gave the kids a nice play-break.
We got back on the road and kept driving.  And this is how exciting most of our trip looked…
Miles, and miles, and miles, and even more miles….of NOTHING!!
And if you think I was bored, you can only imagine how bored the kids were.  Justin was doing well, but every once in a while he would undo his seat belt and move to the empty seat next to him.  Then and hour or two later he would undo it again and move back.  Little Miss would yell, “Mom! Dad!  Justin’s out of his seat belt again!”  And we would turn around and tell him to put it back on.  And usually he would.
My husband does most of the driving on our road trips and lets me sleep—what a nice guy!!  But I did take a few turns at the wheel.  It was during one of these turns where I was driving that Little Miss started yelling about Justin not wearing his seat belt.  My husband turned around to tell him to put it back on—and he wouldn’t.  My husband looked a little closer and realized it had somehow gotten wrapped around his neck!  Justin was really getting upset at this point and rocking back and forth in his seat a bit and the seat belt started to tighten.  My husband undid his seat belt and jumped to the back to try and untangle the belt from Justin’s neck.  The only thing I knew was that Justin wouldn’t put his seat belt back on, and I could hear him screaming.  Next thing I heard was my husband’s voice which got very serious all of a sudden as he told me to pull over immediately.  There was actually traffic on the freeway at that point and almost no shoulder to pull over and I told him I couldn’t and asked him what was going on.  He said he’d explain it all after I pulled over!!  We hadn’t seen an exit sign for probably 20-30 minutes at that point and then I wondered if I should just pull over on the side of the freeway.  I just had a feeling that I shouldn’t pull over on the freeway.  Then I saw a sign that said the next exit was 1 mile away.  I yelled to my husband that it was just one mile away and drove as reasonably fast I could to get off the freeway.  Justin was sobbing at this point and my sweet husband was visibly distraught.  I pulled off the exit ramp and immediately turned into a large gas station.  Right as I was pulling in, I saw a fire department truck pull in the other entrance of the gas station out of the corner of my eye.  My husband told me to stop the car and open the tailgate and try to help him.  I knew I had a pair of scissors in my suitcase, but I didn’t know if they would actually cut the seat belt but my mind was starting to think of all those “worst case scenarios.”  I opened the back of the car and tried to help unwind the seat belt and quickly realized as I saw the red marks on Justin’s neck that this was a more grave situation than I thought.  I told my husband I had seen the fire department truck and his only word was, “RUN!”  I ran to the other side of the gas station and I don’t remember exactly how I described the situation to the three firemen, but I remember somehow quickly spouting out the details and then just turning around and running back to the car with them following me.  As soon as they got there my husband yelled at them to just “cut the seat belt!”  And one of the firemen whipped out a big knife and cut it.  I looked at my Little Miss who was sitting just inches from the whole scary scene and she had tears streaming down her face then I saw the tears in my husband’s eyes as we all sighed a big relief—and we just looked at each other like, “what just happened??”  It was all so fast, and so surreal.  And Justin kept screaming for the next 10 minutes.  The paramedics came to check him out but he didn’t want to be touched or restrained—especially after being restrained by the seat belt for the past 10 minutes!!  These firemen and paramedics were so kind to Justin, and to me and my husband.  They asked us, as Justin continued scream while they were trying to figure out if he was in pain somewhere, “So…is this pretty typical behavior for Justin??”  My husband and I looked at each other and smiled, and I had to say, “Unfortunately, yes, this is pretty normal for us;)”
I signed some papers while my husband took Justin to get a drink to see if it would help calm him down.  And then I turned around to say thank you to the firemen who had helped us, and they were gone already!  I looked at the paramedic and said, “Oh no, I wanted to tell them thank you and they’re gone!”  He waved his hand and with a big smile said, “Oh, they know!”  And then the tears started coming.  I had held it together up until that point, but the gravity of the situation was beginning to settle in.  I jumped in the car and turned around to look at my sweet Little Miss and just said, “It’s okay to cry, mommy is going to cry now too—that was so scary!”  As I sat there bawling, I realized how blessed we were to have the fire department there at the exact moment we needed them.  I felt this enormous amount of peace and I told my daughter through my tears how blessed we were that day and that our Father in Heaven had listened to the prayers of safety our family had continually been offering during this trip.  Even though it was scary, we were blessed by others to continue to be safe.  We had to go buy a toddler booster seat for Justin at the Wal-Mart (which just happened to be next door to the gas station—in the middle of nowhere!!) and we got Justin secured and started driving again.  I have to say that I cried off and on for the next 10 hours of our drive.   Every time I looked at the red marks on Justin’s neck I would start to cry.  But most of those tears were from feeling so blessed to have made it through the ordeal.  It reaffirmed to me how much God loves each of his children individually—that he would align our path with those that could help us made me feel so loved!
And as traumatic as all of that was….we made it “home” to see both of our families.  I just kept this peaceful picture in my head and knew we just had to keep driving…
Yep, this is the view I have right now on my vacation!!  Amazing!!  And for now, I’m not even going to think of the other 2000 miles we have to drive to get back home…
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  1. Wow! What an amazing story! That hits close to home. We're on a road trip visiting family right now too. Probably a 2000 mile round trip, not one way, though. We always pray before we leave asking for safety. I'm so glad someone was there just as you needed them to keep your son safe. What an enormous blessing!

  2. How crazy and scary, I am glad it had. Happy ending

  3. As I sit here completely choked up, sweating, head spinning and heart pounding, the only thing I can slow my thoughts enough to say is; virtually hugging you, mama. {HUGS}

  4. Been thinkin' about you this past week! I'm sorry you had such an ordeal, but very glad to hear it all resolved quickly, with help in the right place at the right time! I hope you are all enjoying your time with family and that your return trip home is UNeventful and smooth! BTDT - it's extra hard to travel with special needs kids. (((BIG HUGS))) to you!

  5. I'm glad Justin and the family was ok. I was very touched by your story!


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