On most days, we take everything for granted: the air we breathe, waking up beside a loved one, the safe trip to work, or an incident-free race. We live our lives fulfilling our daily duties expecting all things to go our way—and usually they do.
But, there are those rare occasions when something happens to wake you up from your slumber and remind you of what you have—or worse, what you once had and suddenly lost in the blink of an eye.
Your father slips away after he is checked out of the hospital and nothing is the same anymore. A child is crushed to death in a tragic school accident and, as a mother, you hug your children a little bit tighter that day. Michael Jackson dies and an entire world is jolted.
This morning was one of those days, the ones that tap you on the shoulder to remind you that you are blessed and you should be thankful for what you have.
I drove the kids to school as I always do every weekday morning. Parked the car and stepped out to unload my son’s bags in the trunk while my son got out and waited for me at the sidewalk. My daughter was left seated in the backseat. I gave my son his bag, put his nametag around his neck, told him I loved him, and kissed him goodbye. As I headed back to the car, which was just a meter away, I watched in horror as the car behind mine slowly rolled down the road and bumped my car.
I checked my daughter. She was fine. The little one murmured that she just felt butterflies in her stomach when she felt the nudge.
The owner of the car quickly apologized and said the damage was minor. Just a quick paint job on the bumper should do the trick, he said. I agreed. When I asked how it happened, he said his preschooler was alone in the car playing with the breaks. (Errr, please don’t ask me to comment about this because it would take up an entirely new post.)
The man apologized profusely and I, perhaps still unable to fully wrap my brains around the whole incident, told him gently and even with a smile “What if I was getting my son’s bags in the trunk when it happened?” He didn’t answer. And I didn’t want to think about it.
But that’s all I could think of today…all the What ifs…
What if I had been 30 seconds late in unloading my son’s bags that day?
What if my son had followed me to the rear of the car?
What if another student had passed between the two cars right before the breaks were released?
What if the car was farther up on the road and it gained speed before it hit mine with my daughter inside?
What if I had been crushed in between the cars, got my knees broken, and was told that I could never ever run again?
Today, I’m going to pray a little longer with a special thank you to my guardian angels for watching over us. Today, I’m going to hug my husband and kids a little bit tighter. Today and everyday from hereon, I’ll try to be more grateful for all that I have: food, shelter, good health, little luxuries, and, of course, the opportunity to run.