Daniel and I loaded up the dog children and Zoe and got on the road at 1pm today. In years passed, we've always stayed until Sunday morning, but decided that we needed to try to avoid the traffic and make sure we had a day of rest before we got into the week and it's demands.
It turns out there was a decent amount of traffic today, so we spent a lot of our time at a snails pace. Zoe was restless and a little cranky - she had a hard time napping. I was feeling especially anxious when my contractions got more painful and frequent - I knew they were just Braxton Hicks, but they can be absolutely unnerving when stuck in traffic with no clear path in sight. Let's face it, I have an active imagination and it tends to imagine worst case scenarios.
Somewhere around Inglewood, traffic came to a complete standstill on the 405. The two left lanes were closed, and eventually only the far right was open. Everyone was merging at once, trying to get ahead. I rolled my window down and tried to get peoples attention, tried to make eye contact since they were ignoring our signal and I felt people ignore me as well. I could see the determination on their faces. It seemed like they were focused on their task, where their final destination was without considering for a second any other vehicle on the road or why we were all in this situation. Some people looked at me without seeing me, like they were looking straight through me, actually. I know this is freeway driving, but I was frustrated. How can we be just two days after Thanksgiving where we celebrate all that we are thankful for: our families, health, etc and so close to the other holidays that celebrate goodwill, love, and new beginnings, but we can't take a moment to consider that other people matter? As we drove by the fire trucks, police, mangled car, the stretcher with an accident victim and the two ambulances I felt myself tear up. Maybe it was my hormones, but it made me incredibly sad that we can be celebrating the holidays one day and facing danger the next. I worried for the person on the stretcher. I worried about their family and friends. I thought about how jammed up traffic had been and how it got worse by people worrying about their own agenda instead of allowing some give and take on the road.
That accident brought things further into perspective for me. I wanted so much to be home safely with my little family, relaxing - but even now as I sit here after a five hour drive... all I can think about is that accident and wonder if everyone will make it home safely from it.
I hope you all had a very Happy Thanksgiving and that the meaning of it and this season stay with you throughout the year.