“All of us, at some time or other, need help. Whether we’re giving or receiving help, each one of us has something valuable to bring to this world. That’s one of the things that connects us as neighbors–in our own way, each one of us is a giver and a receiver.” Mr. Rogers
“If you see someone that needs help, help them.” I have said these words to the children more than once, desiring to teach them to think beyond themselves and toward others. I want to see this beautiful giving love in our family, in the schools, and in our communities. I see and appreciate it in so many others, and I want to see it in my own children, and in myself. I believe that a truly happy life, well lived, has this giving, selfless attitude at heart.
God in his providence, brought people to us yesterday with an opportunity to serve them in a wonderful, humbling way. It was just after 1:30 in the afternoon and the sleet and snow were pouring from the sky. I could see it through the windows as Caleb and I read books in bed, and I couldn’t resist taking my camera out to the porch to take a few pictures of the snow falling so quietly, and gently.
I was out on the porch when I heard the accident. At first I thought it was a snow plow, “Did that snow plow just hit the guard rail?” I looked down the hill to the road and saw the rail broken clumsily into the street, and to my horror, saw that a van had gone off the road, down the bank, and into the stream. It happened so fast that all was quiet once again. No sound, no motions from the van. I quickly realized that no one could do anything for them, but the children and myself. What we did wasn’t great or amazing, anyone could have done it, but I am so proud of the willingness I saw in the children, and the way they worked together to solve the problem was something I will hold in my heart forever.
I ran into the house, and called out excitedly to my teen boys that someone had gone off the road and into the stream and that we had to get to them. Jacob was sound asleep on the couch, but he woke right up and his brother Ethan quickly pulled on boots and ran as fast as they could down the hill to the vehicle. Meanwhile, I dialed 911 to report the accident. I was filled with adrenaline and ran outside to the boys as soon as I got off the phone. As I ran, I realized that all five of my older children were outside, busily working together. They had already gotten the door of the vehicle open and Jacob came to me from out of the stream with a BABY CARRIER….my knees almost gave out as I realized that inside the carseat was a tiny baby boy, crying. “Mom, take the baby to the house, he needs to get warm!” Jacob gave me the baby and ran back to the van. Grace came up to the house after me, with another boy, a toddler, in her arms. Imagine the feeling that poor mother felt, as she sat in her vehicle with her babies and the icy water surrounding them!
I ran to the house as fast as I could and took the baby out of his seat. He was in a soaking wet sleeper, and his carseat was soaked. As soon as I got his clothes off him and wrapped in him a towel, he stopped crying and was happy, he was so sweet, dark curly hair and a round little body. So precious. I held him in a towel as his (young!) mama came in, also wet and freezing cold. I quickly got her some clothes out of my dresser and she changed in my room.
I realized then, that there was a third little boy, sitting on the couch with his brother. He had big serious eyes, and was shivering uncontrollably in a blanket that one of the kids had put around him. I bent down and discovered that he was drenched to the skin, from head to toe. I found out later that he was five years old. Caleb ran downstairs to get him some dry clothes and Grace made hot chocolate. Seth passed around packages of fruit snacks and I found some treasured, saved baby clothes to dress the baby in.
We had the whole family in the house and dry before the police arrived. And, praise God, NO ONE WAS HURT IN THE LEAST!
It was all such a blessing…..the young mom was sweet, pretty, with curly hair pulled back in a pony tail, and her boys were well behaved, quiet, and darling. Three tiny boys…(and all with Bible names.) She had been on her way to a family friend’s house to deliver milk and coffee. She was a complete stranger to us and lived in another town.
Soon the EMT, police, fire department, and tow trucks arrived. Our livingroom was filled with men, us two moms and our combined ten children, all standing around, or sitting on the couch, using the bathrooms, talking and buzzing about. The police interviewed my children and took down their names. They are going to be in the local paper. (blush)
Ethan had gotten on the vehicle to get the door open. The Mom and boys were sitting in freezing cold stream water and could not get out by themselves. Her phone was in the water and didn’t work, but shortly after the accident she was able to honk on the horn a few times, as a distress signal. Ethan cut his boot on something (praise the Lord he was wearing good steel toed boots) and stayed on the van to hold the door up and open so that Jacob could get the boys out.
Jacob got the three little ones out of the vehicle.
Grace helped carry the toddler to the house and when the boys were out of the water, Ethan and David helped the mom out of the van, and up the bank to the house.
Caleb and Seth shared their toys and played so nicely with their new friends.
The husband/Father came directly to our house from work and was full of thanksgiving that his family was safe and well-taken care of.
When they left, the Mom gave me yet another big hug and said, “Your son is so sweet. He said to me, ‘It was a pleasure meeting you. I’m just sorry it was under these unfortunate circumstances.”
(she was referring to my ten year old, David)
I agreed with David, and I’m actually hoping that our family made life-long friends through this experience!
This is a picture I took of the road, right before the accident. All was quiet, but the road hadn’t been cleared in a while. You can see the guard rails over the stream….the one on the left was the one she hit and broke.
This was the picture I took just as I heard the noise of the accident. Sarah’s little dress on the clothesline.
Jacob stood on our front porch and took this picture.
This is the van in the stream. Thankfully the stream is only about 2 feet deep, but the vehicle quickly took in water so that the mom and boys were all sitting in it and very cold.
We thank God for his providence, and that we were home to help these precious people. The children would typically be at school, but were home because of a snow day. I’ll never forget the laugh that came when the mom realized that I had clothes on hand in just the right sizes for her and her boys. She even left wearing a pair of my shoes.
All’s well that ends well.