I am not alone in the nightmare. All one had to do was look out his/her car window to see others experiencing the same misery. We were all stuck.
Due to a snow and ice storm and a mass exodus to reach home before the roads turned treacherous, the roads were filled and full fast: highways, interstates, side streets, back roads, etc.
My story is not the worst; but, it is my story, and I want to share it with you.
On Tuesday January 28th, the school notified all parents that the school was closing early due to the weather. My husband, working from home, got in his car and started the 15-mile journey to pick up the boys (ages 9 and 7).
Within 10 minutes of leaving the house, he called me and he suggested I go ahead and leave work, because the roads were quite icy. Less than 5 minutes later, he called me again to say he was stuck in traffic. He clarified by saying traffic was literally not moving, and I needed to get the boys.*
I left work, and I made it to the school very easily. The roads were slick, but the cars were moving and the number of cars was not excessive.
The boys got into my car at 1:45 PM, and we headed for home.
Less than 2 miles from the school, it was clear we would not be getting home in the typical 30-minute time-frame, as it was already 2:30. The boys were wondering when we were going to get home, and one asked, “We’ll be home by 4pm, right?”
The next 2 miles took 3hrs to travel. The snow and sleet continued, as the roads became more treacherous and the traffic volume increased.
At one point, I decided to get in the left lane and turn – just because the lane was open, and I needed to move. I wasn’t sure how I would get home by turning left, but I wanted to move. After 4hrs of not moving, I HAD to move.
Initially, turning left seemed the right choice. I was able to drive an entire mile within minutes. Then we were stopped again. And, we remained stopped or merely crawling for several more hours.
Long story short… We left the school at 1:45 PM, and we pulled into our driveway at 11:01 PM.
To know me – the real me – is to know my ugly side: my freak-out moments where the anger is intense and composure does not exist. Being stuck in a car for hours on end, with my boys, in a snow/ice storm is a recipe to awaken my ugly side.
Well, you know what? I underestimated myself. I underestimated my boys. We made it through this recipe of destruction without a scratch – both literally and metaphorically.
I could not be more proud of my boys. These two kids were beyond resilient. They don’t have iPhones, iPads, or tablets of any type to keep them occupied in the car. All we have in our car is a radio and – at least on that day – school bags.
During the 9hr ordeal, we had our moments of frustration. I did lose it once or twice, and the boys lost it once or twice. Thankfully, the two not in the midst of a meltdown helped to bring the other one out of it. And surprisingly, we laughed many times. More surprisingly, the boys and I have reflected back on getting stuck, and we’ve chuckled about the good times.
Good times in a nightmare? Yeah. Actually, we had some good times – okay, good moments may be a better choice of words.
Every time I stop and think about the ordeal, I end up shaking my head and tearing-up a bit. I cannot believe the boys were so good. But mostly, I cannot believe I managed my ugly side. Truly.
What kept us together? What kept us sane? How on earth did I – Lenore – get through this without breaking something, slamming something, or yelling to the point of glass shattering? My friends – no doubt – wondered the same thing.
At the risk of causing atheists and agnostics to roll their eyes and yawn,… I give full credit to my faith and God.
We spent most of the drive listening to one certain radio station – a Christian pop-station that plays the top 20 Christian pop songs over and over again, without breaks. Though I would have preferred to stick with talk-radio during this “event”, it was nice to hear good music and feel encouragement through the airwaves.
The first time we heard “Overcomer” while stuck in the car, I laughed. I told the boys this was the perfect song for our – um – adventure. I told the boys that no matter how miserable we were feeling, we would overcome this situation.
Song after song left us feeling hopeful, as our day turned into night. And when we finally made it home, rather than heading for bed, the boys ran outside to play in the snow with Dad.
We all finally crashed warm in our beds a little after midnight. It was a very long day and trying day. But mostly, it was a day we overcame with flying colors.
* Rob did not get home until close to 8pm, after leaving the house at 1:10pm to pick up the boys. Remember, he didn’t even make it to the school. He got stuck having traveled only 5 miles from the house.
The song that motivated us throughout our journey: “Overcomer” by Mandisa.