Oct 14, 2015

Life is precious and can be gone in an instant. Do not waste a minute of it.

Guest post by Erin Taylor, author of 

Yes, you read that right. I was hit by a drunk driver last night. Thank God I walked away without a scratch, but needless to say, it was pretty scary. As you know well by now, I tend to write through my experiences in order to process them, so this will likely be a long but chocked-full post. Please read on if you will….

I was on my way to a school to meet my friend and colleague Sue DeCaro so that we could present part one of our Conscious Parenting series when the accident happened. I was in rush hour traffic on a very busy road. I was probably the 20th car stopped at a red light when out of nowhere, a car slammed into the back of my car. I called Sue right away to ask her to come pick me up where we were so that she could bring me to the workshop (because yes, I truly am that committed to the work that I do!). She immediately turned around to come to me. 

Thankfully I then thought to call the police and a very kind, very helpful and comforting Officer Brinkman arrived (thank you, sir!). When he arrived, he suspected that this other driver was under the influence and did a field sobriety test to confirm his suspicions. 

The man was placed in handcuffs and arrested on the spot. Talk about shocking.

As for me, this kind officer helped me figure out who to call and what to do. While Sue was on her way to get me, I was able to talk with the officer, call my husband and then my insurance company. While I was on the phone with them, Sue and I transferred our supplies from my car to hers as I explained to the insurance person that I could not wait for the tow truck at that point, as I really needed to get to work and was supposed to be presenting in just 30 minutes and we were still 25 minutes away.

After all of that, Sue drove me to the school where we were presenting while I spoke to the tow truck company. We walked into the school in a flurry, trying to carry all of our belongings in while I remained on the phone trying to straighten out this dilemma. We were supposed to begin our program at 7:00 and we arrived at 7:08. In one last dash of effort, we managed to begin the program at 7:13, just 13 minutes late. A collective gasp was heard among the audience of 70+ parents when I explained that we were late because a drunk driver had just hit me on the way there. I pointed out that thankfully, I was just fine (my car, not so much) and that this was a great way to begin our program. I then looked into the eyes of each parent in the room and said “Let us be grateful that we are here together tonight, that we are all whole and healthy, and that we will learn some very transformational information.” For the next 90 minutes, I was able to compartmentalize what had happened while I managed to become deeply engaged in the material Sue and I were presenting. Afterward, several parents came up to me, shook my hand, said how glad they were that I was not injured and how surprised they were that I could give that talk in such an unflustered and calm way. I just kept telling them that this material is powerful and means so much to me that unless I was squashed on the road, I would be there to share it with them.

After the presentation Sue drove me back to my car where my wonderful husband waited for me. Soon after, the tow truck driver arrived to pick up my car and tow it to my mechanic 90 minutes from where we were.

I need to backtrack for just a minute. My 10-year-old daughter does not like it when I have to go to work when she is home. It is very hard for her when I’m away. When she found out yesterday after school that I would be going to work, she got upset and began crying, asking if I could reschedule my work and go while she was at school and then moved to asking me why I can’t decide to be a stay-at-home-mom. She was quite upset. In a stroke of insight, I sat down with her and explained that my work is very, very important. I pointed out that I have a wonderful relationship with her and her brothers and that not all parents have that same kind of relationship with their kids. I asked her if she had ever seen a mom or dad screaming and yelling at their child, and she said yes. I explained that Dr. Shefali’s teachings helped me to be a better mom and that I want to share that message with other parents so that they can have a better relationship with their children. She asked what exactly Dr. Shefali (who she had the pleasure of meeting this summer) teaches. I told her that she wants parents to understand that it is important to connect deeply with their children, to listen to them and really see them for who they are, and to support them in becoming all they are meant to become. Then I asked her if she could imagine what it would be like if all parents had as good a relationship with their kids as I have with her. After thinking about it, she said “Then there would be no problems in the world.”

I told her THAT is why I do my work and why it is so important. She thought some more and said “but wouldn’t that be bad for the economy if there were no problems?” I asked her why she thought that and she said “well, when you change one big thing in a system, many other things change too, right?” 

Amazed at her insight and wisdom, I agreed with her but said that if we were not spending so much money addressing the problems of the world, there would be more money left over to do things like put in more playgrounds, build more bike paths and the like. She then said that although she still did not like me going to work, she now understood why I needed to go. I suggested that perhaps she might like to make something for me while I was gone at work if that made her feel better, to which she readily agree. When I went to kiss her goodbye before I left, she looked me in the eyes and said “Mommy, you’re the best. You really helped me to understand why you go to work and I feel so much better.” 

This morning she showed me the snowflakes she had made and had written this on the dry erase board.

Snowflake Craft Theme:
I think that each snowflake is like a family, every one unique.
You should stop to enjoy each delicate snowflake just like each family, to find the beauty within.
It might not always be obvious, but everyone and everything is beautiful.

~ Faith

Mommy! I hope you like the craft and my moral to go with it
Goodness. The wisdom that lies within this child blows my mind sometimes. She gets it. She truly does. And you know what? All of our children have that inherent wisdom, if only we take the time to connect to them and really listen to them.

On the way home, I re-read my post about gratitude from yesterday. Boy, did I have a lot of things to add to that list. 

Allow me to share

I was not injured at all.

That drunken man did not kill anyone. Hopefully, he will now realize he needs to get help.

Sue was able to pick me up and we were only a few minutes late for our presentation.

I have a life that I love and I am aware of it.

My mother-in-law stayed with my kids so that my husband could pick me up.

Imagine my great fortune that at 10:15 last night, I was able to get my absolute favorite comfort foods (turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy and cranberry sauce) at Wawa of all places! And when I went into the Wawa, I saw the kind officer who had helped me several hours earlier. I thanked him again for his support and assistance and told him how much I appreciated him.

I found out this morning that the other man’s insurance has already accepted 100% responsibility for the accident. Now my car will be repaired, and my insurance will not be raised because of this.

As I said in my post yesterday, there are so many, many – countless – things to be grateful for and we can find them if only we choose to look for them. Today, please take a moment and choose to look for them. Life is precious and can be gone in an instant. Do not waste a minute of it.

Erin Taylor is a wife, therapist, writer, mom, and PCI-Certified Parent Coach with It Takes a Village Parent Coaching, LLC. For more information, contact her at 609-605-3844, email erin@villageparentcoaching.com, or visit VillageParentCoaching.com.