This I Believe

Dan - State College, Pennsylvania
Entered on April 30, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family, setbacks

My Family

There are many things that I value in my day-to-day life. Sports, entertainment, friends, and parties are just a few of the activities or events that prompt me to get out of bed in the morning. Those things, however, all fall a distant second to what is, in reality, the most important thing in my life: my family.

Growing up, my two sisters, my father, and my mother were a very tight-night family. Family dinners were a regular event in our household. I always wanted to watch TV during the dinner hours, but I was not allowed because that was the time set aside for all of us to talk about our days. Vacations were always limited to the five of us; no relatives or friends would ever accompany us. On one of our vacations to South Carolina, I was so miserable from boredom and the lack of a friend my age that I acted miserable ruined the entire trip for everyone else. By the time I was 17, I constantly wished that my family would back off and let me have my own space.

My feelings towards my family took a complete turnaround on August 15, 2002, a fateful day in my life. Along with my younger sister, I was in my car following my older sister and my parents to see our dog, Sandy, who had to go to the vet for emergency surgery. About 20 yards after crossing a bridge over a river, I noticed a car next to us that was out of control. The car, which was being driven by a woman on a cell phone, lost control and hit my car on the driver-side front door. I tried to keep the car under control, but we smacked against the guard rail, somehow hopped over it, and went down a 40 foot embankment into a tree.

My sister and I were both fine, and upon getting out of my car I didn’t think of the accident as a very big deal. That was until I climbed back up the hill and saw my sister and my parents crying because we were ok. It was then that I realized how close to death my sister and I were, and also how much my family cared about me. The next couple days were pretty surreal, my friends and relatives surprised that I was even alive. In the end, the fact that I almost lost my family, coupled with the emotion my family showed on almost losing me, made me realize how valuable it is to have a close-nit family. To this day I value each and every moment I have with my family, because you never know when a situation will take them away from you.