Answering the phone in the middle of the day and having my son on the other end saying that he just got rear-ended put everything else on pause. My immediate response was to tell him that I was on my way to the scene which happened to be right down the street from his school. If that wasn’t enough, he called back to say, “Hey Ma, my car just rolled into the wall and its all smashed up in the front and in the back.” OMG! What the what?! My visual became some really confusing mess of a car accident. I was trying to figure out if he was in the car when it hit the wall and how did it hit the wall after the initial call about being hit from behind. My daughter was still home from college so we hurried to the scene. I did the whole push the speed limit through the 35 mph zones trying to get there as quickly as I could without getting pulled over for speeding.
When we arrived at the scene, my heart dropped and I got really worried. The car was really smashed into the wall that served as a barrier between the four lane road and a garden home community. The back of the car was crushed and the trunk was popped open. There was some type of liquid on the ground from the point of the initial crash and it trailed to site of the second crash where the car made contact with the wall. We got to the scene and realized it was the open campus period for lunch and there were students walking to and from the school. The car had found a stopping point with the front tires resting on the sidewalk which made me so thankful that there was no student in the path of the car as it rolled into the wall. After seeing the damage to the car, my daughter and I became super anxious about the health and well-being of the boy. As I slowed my car to assess the situation, my daughter in her anxiousness to check on the health of her brother attempted to open her car door and jump out. Really?! I told her not to think about getting out of the car in the middle of traffic and have me worry about both of them.
After we found a place to park on a side street, we learned that the student driver of the large pick up truck also parked on the side street was the vehicle into which my son was pushed when he was hit from the rear. The student who drove the truck said once he saw the smoke and the fluids coming from our car he moved his truck to keep it from catching on fire. Then, our immobilized car went rolling down hill. Now, I really needed to figure out how the car was guided into the wall and why it did not roll straight into the large four-way intersection crawling with pedestrian and motor traffic. I hurried to the scene to find my son. The ambulance was there along with campus and local police officers. My son explained that when the car started rolling he ran beside it and put his arm through the open window and steered the car into the wall to keep it from barreling into the intersection. OMG! What presence of mind? But, OMG! After seeing the european car that hit him, I got all anxious again. The front end of that car was smashed up pretty good. I couldn’t see any visible injury to my son and I was thankful again. I asked if he had a passenger and he did. One of his friends was riding with him. Between the three vehicles, there were eleven kids. I was overcome with emotion just thinking about how ugly this situation could have been. I was so thankful that all of the students walked away from the accident.
After the police investigation, the calls to the insurance companies, the arrival of the parents of the students involved, the call to the school to report the students would be late for the next period, and I checking my boy out of school, we went home for lunch. My son looked at me and then at my daughter and he said, “Y’all look a mess!” and we all laughed. We had just come home from Bikram Yoga when we got the first call. I was wearing a bandana of some sort and I am sure we didn’t have on matching or fitted clothing. It was funny after the fact and I found a way to blame him for my fashion failure that afternoon. Haha!
By the time we were done eating lunch, he started complaining about a headache. We went to the quick care clinic for an evaluation. He was given some medicine to calm his head and neck complaints. Thank goodness all of the symptoms were gone in a day or so and he was insisting that he return to regular activities. As a mom, I was thrilled that he wanted to get back to his normal, but I wanted no parts of him driving or playing a contact sport. I was also very afraid that the medical staff might have missed something. The whole mama bear – mother hen complex was in full effect.
I learned from this experience to be available to my babies when they need me as soon as I can, to be grateful for the good health and well-being of my babies, and to allow them to keep living even after an unnerving moment so that the baby doesn’t develop a fear of life. While I am able to allow my kids to grow and revisit those things that challenged them, I still find myself a bit anxious when it is time for them to go at life without me. Honestly, I think that means I love them and care about the things that concern them. I have learned that while I have a number of reasons that I am afraid that things will not work out perfectly for them there are more reasons that the challenges in their lives will teach them at least one valuable lesson that they need to know. Those challenging situations will aid them in their growth and maturity. Finally, I learned that I have to use the times of challenge in the lives of my kids to be a presence and a voice of reason and direction. My son seemed to be primed for direction and guidance immediately after the crash and for the next couple of days. He even verbalized that he recognized the danger that was present during the accident and that he was thankful that everyone was safe. As much as the car accident caused me some stress, I was excited about the maturity he demonstrated, the fact that the officers said that he was abiding by all traffic and safety rules at the time of the accident, and that he was safe and able to go home with me that afternoon.