Today was one of those days that happened in a flash. You know the type? The kind where you know you have a ton on your plate, and you may slow down for a mere five seconds to soak in some portion of it all, but really…. most of it is a blur. Today was the Winter Festival at EHS. The first one as me as the Sunday school director no less. I had to have pretty much the entire event planned, but that really went pretty smoothly. The Winter Festival is a way to celebrate the holidays, the winter solstice, and the talents of many members of the community. The children get to perform their special talents, there is sing-along time, a mitten tree, and candle lighting. The mitten tree is built by the children and then decorated with all of the hat, mitten and food donations that we collect and take to the Niles Food Pantry. There is also a toy (and gift card) drive we do for the shelter Between Friends.
This year I had each of the teachers select a ‘thing’ that each of their groups wanted to do. The preschool class (S’s class) did Ruldolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, K-1st chose to do a poem about gratitude, and 2nd-3rd (D’s group) did a little skit about how the winter solstice is celebrated around the world. Then the 4th and 5th grade class and writen two cute little skits, and the Coming of Age (COA… and K’s group) group chose to read “Sick” by Shel Silvestein. It was really a great way to see the characters of each of the classes, and awesome to see them perform together. It really went very well. And then there were individual performances that followed, and there were some fabulous musicians, and a very cute poem/song/story read by a mom-son duo. Really fun!
After that we had the mitten tree, and last but not least the candle lighting. The candle lighting…. ugh. I don’t even know how to set up this story without just jumping to the “punch line”…. M’s hair caught fire by S’s candle. The sheer shock in his face. I don’t think M realized what it was. It was so quick. I have a feeling (very very strong feeling) that S was shoved by someone else (not naming names…. K) who was kinda in a mood this AM. S had this look on him like he had no clue how it all happened, and was just completely mortified. M was upset because I think she felt the heat from her very own candle. I say a slight flame coming and just without even thinking swiped it all out… QUICKLY. It was all a matter of 2 seconds…. and then afterwards, when I smelled that lovely smell of burnt hair, it all hit me. I was kinda shakey at that point. S was wailing and I could tell he just felt so horrendous. M was just fine. It really just got the tippy-tippy-tips of a half inch patch of her hair. So no one would have any clue that anything had happened…. unless you wondered what that nice smelling burnt smell was.
Phew. All the while we had to get the LPCS lunch packing going, collect all of the donations into the back of my car, and get out in time to run two errands before friends dropped by. Even now I think the whole circumstances around it have gotten me even more shakey having it set in now. In the midst of it all I think I must have been on auto pilot. We have been really quite lucky and blessed.
OH…. which reminds me of the other week. Just last week in fact. This whole scenario today reminded me last week when K and I were nearly hit by another car going at least 40 mph through a red light/intersection!!!! Scary stuff. (I keep wondering what the universe is trying to tell me…. it’s not at all as if I take for granted just how stinkin’ blessed I am!) But yes, last week, I was picking up K from Prop Theater and we were headed towards Andesonville to pick up D, S and M from a friend’s house. K was sitting in the back seat directly behind me and we were chatting about his class. We were on Kedzie, heading north just about to reach Irving Park Road. There was a woman pulling out of the Walgreens right there at that corner and I had slowed to let her pull out. (I bring this up because had I not stopped to do that…. our outcome would have been 100% different than what it was.) At any rate, the woman did not want us to wait for her, despite me encouraging her to go. So we slowly proceeded forward. K was still chatting with me, and all of a sudden I felt/saw/reacted to this peripheral thing coming out of the left. It was a white sedan-type car FLYING through the intersection. I SLAMMMMMMM on the breaks, scretch, honk, yell….. I glance up at the light thinking I have royally screwed up, but no, it WAS green for me. It was RED for him. This guy seems to have no control at all. I slam to a stop, and I hear him trying to screeeeetch to a stop. He swerves from us by just a few inches…. certainly not more than a foot. I am then totally in shock that we have been missed. Heart pounding, looking at him SLAM into 2 cars. The incoming traffic (west bound on Irving Park Rd.) who were stopped at the red light waiting. He side-swipes one and goes head-first into the other.
I’m shaking. Really shaking (and really for plenty of hours after that as well). Mother bear in me is telling me to get the hell out of dodge. I pull through the intersection to be out of the way, pull over to call 911, and then I sit to breath a second before moving onward. Then there are 2 huge trucks trying to come through the intersection… coming just seconds later, they have no clue what just happened. I am thinking something more is happening and I proceed to Andersonville. All the while there I am feeling sooooo lucky, blessed and just cannot believe we escaped that. I am also feeling enormous guilt for not stopping to see if the people were ok. I keep telling myself that I did call 911, I was in shock and I was feeling the mama-bear instinct to ‘get to protected’ areas. It really felt imperative to not be there any longer. And yet I felt so horribly awful for not going to those cars that got hit so badly.
You may have me mistaken for someone else. I do realize just how fabulous my life is. No reminding really needed. I swear. As much as I appreciate the brief addrenaline rushes to remind me…. they really don’t have to be so intense. I get it. Really I do. And if you have another message you’re trying to send… perhaps in a different form would be of help?? Thanks!