Accidental holiday



When winter brings an accidental holiday, this family is reminded of the values they treasure. ©Thinkstock

Modern life can be very busy, so many of us learn to enjoy the “gift” of a snow day—even when it causes hiccups in our plans.

Thanks to some significant wintery weather last February, our little clan had an unexpected day off. My husband, on a brief between-jobs hiatus, was home the Monday morning of a freak slush event; and our high school senior was enjoying yet another snow day. Only our oldest daughter, a preschool teacher, and her home-based business-owning mom had to work.

While our lone commuter got ready to head out, the two guys, both members of the local volunteer fire company, responded to a car accident call right outside town.

Not 20 minutes later, moments after she left the driveway, our daughter’s cell number popped up on my caller ID. She had slid into a roadside ditch not a mile away—within sight of the two-car wreck at which her dad and brother were assisting.

An hour later, four-fifths of our family unit were in an emergency room cubicle, waiting x-ray results.

I quickly threw on warmer clothes, cleaned off the old manual transmission Saturn—a driver’s best friend in dicey conditions—and took off to check on our stranded motorist.

After making sure our daughter was okay, and saying many prayers of thanks, I got back into my car parked on the shoulder, and, flashers on, settled in to watch for the tow truck.

We weren’t sitting long when she called to say her head, side, and back were beginning to hurt—a lot. A quick EMT evaluation led to an ambulance ride to the nearest hospital.

An hour later, four-fifths of our family unit were in an emergency room cubicle, awaiting x-ray results. Fortunately it was only soft tissue damage and some bruising—painful, but not dangerous.

The favorable prognosis still involved a long interval before release. The emergency room nurse had quipped when we arrived they’d been running a special on off-road incidents. The physician assistant confirmed the trend, saying this was the sixth or seventh he’d treated since starting his shift, and that was just his caseload.

While the discharge paperwork and prescriptions for pain and inflammation were being prepared, I looked around the tiny curtain-fronted room at my husband and our kids and felt a surge of true happiness. Beyond enormous gratitude for our daughter’s safety, I realized we were in the midst of a special occasion. It was one of those rare instances when life demands you put everything else on hold so you can live in the moment, sharply focused on the people and circumstances that really matter in both the long- and short-run. The day bore no resemblance to the one I’d expected or planned out in my head as I lay between the covers that morning, savoring the misconception I have anything like control over even my own little world. Rather, it was a day that brought four busy souls together, and reminded us what lasts and what doesn’t.

It was a good day, this accidental holiday—a very good day.

SUSAN WRITER lives, works and writes in Maryland. This article was reprinted with permission of The Frederick News-Post and Randall Family, LLC as published on April 1, 2014.


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