Patricia closed the front door of the house, exasperated that it had taken so long to get Tanya, her 5 year old daughter ready to leave for school. “Quit dawdling!” she called to Tanya who had let a flower catch her attention. “Get in the car now, Tanya”
“I will, but don't you think...”
“Now!” Patricia interrupted. “I don't have time for your foolishness.” Patricia grabbed Tanya's hand and pulled her towards the car.
“Mommy, why are you always in such a hurry? My teacher says we should take time to enjoy all things.” Tanya was clearly puzzled. “She made a sign for our classroom. It says, Use time wisely, enjoy nature.”
“Well, maybe she has time to enjoy nature because she doesn't have a child to get ready for the day.” Patricia replied while starting the car and getting on the road. “I don't have the luxury of extra time.”
“But, she has a little boy and an older girl!” Tanya interjected. “The boy is just a little younger than me. She has to be at school before me, and she is always there.” Tanya was trying hard to make sense of having to hurry all the time but Mommy didn't seem to be helping.
“Just be quiet and let me concentrate on my driving.” Patricia had all she could stand at that moment. “Just be quiet.”
“Mommy, you are going very fast. The speed limit sign says 35. Are you going 35?” Tanya didn't want to be quiet.
“ No, I can't go that slow. I am going 50. There is not much traffic through here.” Patricia answered.
“But what … ”
“Tanya, HUSH I need to concentrate!” Patricia was at the end of her rope.
Tanya was silent for awhile, but she kept on reading the speed limit signs as they came by. They were on the good road now and the sign said 60. She tried to move around so she could see the speedometer. The seat belt and booster seat held her back enough that she could not see it. It seemed that Mommy was passing a lot of other cars though. She decided she had better not talk for awhile.
Patricia was fuming inside. All that I have to do, and she worries about such a little thing as a speed limit? She thought. Why, they're made to be broken. No one pays any attention to them. Besides, the cops give you five miles over before they start counting. Don't they? I hope so, I need to figure out what I am going to do about the Davis Project at work and Tanya wants me to drive the speed limit. Impossible.
“Mommy, how fast are you going now? The sign says 65.” Tanya could wait to ask no longer.
“I'm doing 80, maybe we will get to school and work on time.” Patricia answered as she passed another car.
“Mommy, please slow down, you are scaring me! I don't care if I'm late.” Tanya pleaded.
“It will be okay, Tanya. I know what I'm doing.” Patricia turned onto the two lane road leading to the school, then resumed her speed.
“Mommy, the sign says 40 here. Slow down.” Tanya pleaded
“I want you to hush! I know how fast I can go. Wait! that detour wasn't there before...” Patricia panicked as she hit the brakes, swerving to miss the barrels marking the detour. She lost control of the car and plowed head on into an on-coming car.
When Patricia awoke in the hospital, she asked the first nurse she saw. “Is Tanya alright? Where is she?”
“Patricia,” answered the nurse. “ Tanya did not make it. She died at the scene of the accident. We wanted to wait until your husband was here to tell you, but he is not able to be here at this time. He suffered a heart attack when he heard about the accident. He is on the sixth floor of this hospital, fighting for his life.”
“OH NO!” Patricia sobbed uncontrollably. “What have I done? Dear Lord, What have I done? To gain an extra minute, I drove too fast. Now, my family is destroyed. Please God, Help me!”
We all have the same 24 hours, choose wisely how you use them.
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