I was supposed to go to San Antonio (around there) this weekend to see my step-son, Tyler. He's 18, and spending the next few weeks down there. We had it all planned out. Russell had to work on Friday, so I was to take the kids down to Alvarado to his parents' house, and he was going to meet me there when he got off work. We were to drive down that night.
Some time Friday afternoon Chandler, Carter, Caden, Makenna, Mariah (my 15-year-old step-daughter), and Hannah (my 16-year-old niece) went for a ride on the golf cart. Something everyone has been doing regularly for the las 10 years or so, ever since my in-laws moved out to the country. Ann and I were sitting in the family room with Conner, just visiting, when Caden came running to the front door. He stepped in and said "There was a crash, and everyone's bleeding." Then he just stood there. At first, I admit, I thought he was kidding, but when I looked at his little face, I knew it was no joke. I got up, grabbed his hand, and we took off. Once we were outside I could hear the screaming and crying coming from the trees. I looked down at Caden as we ran, to ask what happened, and saw that he was sobbing. As we came over the hill I glanced over at my brother-in-law, Ricks' house and saw Carter and Chandler walking in, so I knew that whatever happened to them could wait. When I looked ahead again I saw Hannah, Mariah and Makenna making their way over the hill. Hannah's face was bloody, and she just kept saying "This is all my fault" and "I'm so sorry". I tried to reassure her, while trying to assess the injuries. Makenna was crying, and really bruising on the left side of her collar bone. Of all, though, I was most concerned about Mariah. She was still screaming, and rubbing her eyes. She kept saying "My eyes are burning". We ran back to the house and started flushing her eyes, while we tried to figure out who needed medical attention. Ultimately, we learned that Chandler had lost his glasses and had a giant bruise on his hip, and Caden had a big scrape across his side. Those two just needed to rest and settle down. Carter and a cut on the side of his head that I knew would need stitches, I was concerned Makenna's collar bone might be broken, and I was worried about Mariah's eyes. Hannah busted her lip and knocked a couple of teeth a little loose, but they should tighten back up on their own. So Ann and I took the three kids in need of attention, piled into her van, and backed out of the driveway....right into the side of MY van. Ann, who was driving, about had a heart attack, but I just cracked up laughing. Just one of those things. We didn't even get out the check the damage, we just headed to the hospital. Carter ended up with four staples in his head, which he thinks are really awesome, they X-rayed Makenna's chest and collar bone, and they came back fine. She'll just be really sore, they said. And Mariah had her eyes flushed, which was so bizarre! They put these, like, full-eye contact things in her eyes with tubes coming out of them. She looked like some experiment. It was crazy, but she handled it like a champ, and it really helped. The doctor said that whatever it was (we assume it was battery acid) burned the top layer of her left eye, and eyelid. She can see, though, which is great. He put her on an antibiotic, and she has to see an Opthamologist on Monday. They also X-rayed her knee, which ws really swollen, but that came back fine, too. All in all, it could have been a whole lot worse, and I'm counting my blessings. Later, we heard the story:
Hannah, bless her heart, was driving, and as they went down what is known as "roller coaster hill", they hit a rock, and went airborn. The front tire came off (it's a three-wheeled golf cart) and when they came down, the prongs that hold the tire embedded into the ground, completely stopping their forward progress. Their momentum (they were probably going around 20-25 mph) caused them to tip forward, and the golf cart ended up face down. Chandler, Carter and Caden were in the back, where the golf bags go. Chandler and Caden ended up "on top" of the golf cart, because they stayed put, Carter was thrown from the cart, and hit his head on something. Hannah hit the steering wheel and ended up stuck between it and the ground. Makenna ended up stuck under one of the front frame bars. Mariah was near her, with her arm stuck under the same bar. The seat opened, where the batteries are held, and both batteries fell out, spilling what we assume is battery acid. Whatever it was, it not only burned Mariah's eyes, but it also bleached her shirt, jeans and shoes. A little of it also got on Makenna's jeans and feet. When Caden got out to run to Granny's house for help, Chandler and Carter headed to Uncle Rick's house. Mariah, even in pain, was able to tilt the golf cart upright and get Makenna out. It was a blessing from Heavenly Father that Conner wasn't sitting in Mariah's lap. He had ridden with them earlier, but for whatever reason, decided to pass up this time. Thank goodness. Another tender mercy.
Needless to say, I didn't go to San Antonio. Russell left at about 4:30 this morning, but I just couldn't leave the kids. I stayed there until after breakfast to make sure everyone was still OK, and then headed home with Makenna and Conner. I was (am) so completely exhausted, physically and emotionally. I know that we were blessed, and that it could have been so much worse, but I can not tell you what it felt like to hear my kids screaming and I couldn't run fast enough. So draining.
So tomorrow I'm taking the day off. Makenna, Conner and I are going to stay home and relax. We'll watch a little TV, maybe read a book or two, and maybe even take a nap. Conner and I took one today while Makenna played on the computer, and it was so wonderful. Russell will be home with the other kids tomorrow afternoon, and then all will be right in the world.
You know, this wasn't fun, but I feel closer to Mariah today than I ever have. She and I both did so well yesterday until bedtime, and then we both had our own little meltdowns. She's such a sweetheart, and such a great big sister to the little kids. There's always a blessing to be found, even in adversity, and this greater awareness of my love for Mariah is a really wonderful blessing to me. I'm so thankful that everyone is OK.
Well, except my van...