Monday started off like a normal day. We got some errands done in the morning, including picking up a car to borrow so that we could take ours to the dealership for recall related repairs. Andrew and Xander went to the library, while Simon and I spent a little time at home before we planned to meet up at the dealership at our appointment time.
I hurried to make a late lunch for myself, and hurried to get on the
road with Simon. Simon was not thrilled to be in the car again, so I was
distracted by his crying. I was around the corner from our house when
all of that changed in an instant.
I was approaching an intersection when the light suddenly turned yellow.
I knew I needed to stop but the red pickup truck in front of me was
nearly into the intersection and seemed to be going to go through on the
yellow light. The driver suddenly changed his mind, leaving me without
enough space to stop.
I hit him. My glasses flew onto the dashboard. My air bag went off. I
couldn’t breathe because of the smoky chalk that had exploded from the
deflating air bag.
I was dimly aware that the truck had pulled to the other side of the
intersection - in my mind, to be safer. While I was still dazed from the
impact, I watched, uncomprehending, as the truck drove off. I tried to
drive, to move the car out of the road. It wouldn’t move. I got out and
grabbed Simon in his car seat, and moved to the sidewalk. Now safe, I
turned into a useless, emotional mess.
Even in that moment, I was amazed and grateful at the kindness of
strangers. Before I even got out of my car, I had two guys sticking
their heads out of their truck window next to me, asking if I was okay.
When I got to the sidewalk, two women were there, asking if I was okay,
There is a gas station on the corner I’d chosen, and the
guy on duty came over and encouraged me to come inside to keep warm,
keep the baby warm. Before I even got off the sidewalk to a bench by the
gas station, a woman came and told me, “my husband is moving your car.”
She had hopped out of the cab of their tow truck, and he was already
hooking it up to move the disabled car to safety in the gas station lot.
She disappeared after a quick “Merry Christmas!”
Since the accident occurred a stone’s throw from the police station,
officers arrived in moments, and the paramedics quickly after that. I
answered questions and got checked out. The paramedics commented they
could see that I had been wearing my seatbelt, since I had a fresh
abrasion on my chest. Though I was shocked that the other driver had
left the scene, it ended up being a good thing for us in the sense that
it was immediately deemed their fault.
Andrew and Xander arrived after the paramedics had looked me over, and
Xander’s reaction was unexpected. Unsurprisingly, he was sweet and
reassuring, “it’s ok, Mama; it’s ok, Simon.” What was unexpected and
amusing was that he had gotten mad and protective on the way over, when
Andrew told him that someone had hit us. He said, “You don’t crash into
Mama! I crash into you!” He told me, “I was mad at the other cars!” My
sweet, loyal, small protector. I observed to Andrew, “He’s a Hufflepuff
like his Daddy.”
Most of the rest of the day was spent on the phone with insurance,
telling the story about 6 more times to various people, and verbally
processing my whole experience.
Andrew’s aunt and uncle, from whom we had borrowed the car, were
exceedingly gracious about the whole incident. We all counted our
blessings that it was their second, lesser used car, and not either of
our primary vehicles. I was grateful that it hadn’t been worse;
incredibly glad that I wasn’t more injured or put out of work. I was
glad Andrew and Xander were not in the car, and that Simon was safe.
Overall, it has been an eye-opening experience: a wake up call to be
more aware as a driver, to treasure every day with my loved ones, to be
more present in every moment.
“O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me
know how fleeting I am! Behold, you have made my days a few
handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all
mankind stands as a mere breath! ... My hope is in you.”
Psalms 39:4-5, 7