My mother is a miracle. I’m not just saying that because Mother’s Day is approaching. It’s the truth, plain and simple.
In 1963, the year they were married, my parents were involved in a near-fatal car accident. A drunk driver ran their Volkswagen van off the road. Daddy’s legs were broken and he had a concussion. Mother was thrown through the windshield and rendered unconscious. For 19 days, she remained comatose while Daddy recovered. She was 22 and pregnant with their first child. Her family kept vigil at the hospital waiting for the doctors to deliver the prognosis. Her lacerations and other injuries would heal in time, but her brain was damaged. She may never walk again, they said. She would never drive. She would never be able to teach again. She would need constant care and supervision.
When she regained consciousness, her parents and siblings were gathered around her, but she couldn’t speak and couldn’t remember their names. She would have to relearn everything – talking, walking, dressing and feeding herself. Her parents took her home with them after she was released from the hospital. They watched over her, cared for her, and tried to keep her from hurting herself, often reminding her “the doctor said you can’t do that!” She was determined not to spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair, and she hated being told there was anything she couldn’t do.
She had been a straight-A student, had played basketball in high school, was named Best All Around and Most Likely to Succeed by her peers, and had been valedictorian. She was the first and only member of her family to attend college where she made the dean’s list every year and graduated with top honors. She went on to teach business education, and two of her brothers were among her students. If anyone had ever told her there was something she couldn’t do, she set out to prove them wrong.
Her mother most likely was frustrated with her strong will, and no doubt she was frustrated with her mother’s attempts to keep her from doing things for herself. She continued to fight for her independence, and eventually won.
My mother gave birth to a healthy baby girl in March, 1964. I was born in March, 1966, and my younger sister in January, 1967. Mother filled our baby books with pictures, dates, accomplishments. She sewed clothes for us to wear. She kept us fed and managed the household finances. Thanks to her aunt, she even learned to drive. She taught us to read and write and instilled in us a love for learning. We moved to Little Rock in 1970 when Daddy went into business for himself. While my older sister was in school, my younger sister and I would accompany Mother to the preschool where she worked part-time. When I started first grade, Mother opened a kindergarten in our home. The following year, she discovered that she was expecting again. My brother was born in January, 1974.
Since the accident that should have ended her life, she has accomplished all of the things they said she would never do and more. She raised four kids, taught us to love the Lord, married us all off, and is now a doting grandmother of 12. She and my dad will celebrate their 43rd anniversary on May 31. In my book, that is no small miracle.