Last night I received a phone call that parents never want to get.
‘Mom, can you come to get me- I have been in a car wreck.’
Instantly- 500 thoughts run through your mind as you scramble to wake up and process the words that just came out of your child’s mouth.
-Where is he located?
-Where is his baby?
-Why am I getting a call at 1:30 a.m.? Shouldn’t he be asleep in his bed?
-How bad was the accident?
-Was he drinking?
-Did he call 911?
-Is the insurance company awake at 1:30 a.m.?
-Why hasn’t anyone created an instant coffee maker that magically has coffee ready by the time I am done putting my shoes on?
We were out the door in 5 minutes. It could have been 3, but I really needed to pee.
As we were driving to the scene of the accident, the long way, mind you, because he couldn’t explain where he was in relation to a physical building, I was the picture of calmness. A logical parent who realized that if my child had called me, then he was alive. That is a good thing.
Inside my head- there was a marathon of drunk Saint Paddy Day’s runners, all fighting to be at the start point of my fears.
-Did a Moose walk in front of his vehicle, and he swerved to miss it?
-Was the car a total-totaled? Or was it just a little totaled? Is there even a difference?
-How the hell am I going to find a white car, in a ditch filled with snow, on a backcountry road in the middle of the night?
-Was there GAP insurance on the vehicle? I think that I told him to get GAP insurance.
-How was he going to get to work with no car?
-Did he have broken bones? I hope not- our local hospital keeps telling us they have no room at the inn for any patients.
We got to the scene of the accident and met with the lovely Policeman. He tried to explain to me how the heck my son’s car was in the midst of a small forest of Birch Trees, but the only visible path of entry was that of vehicle pieces and not of tire tracks. So it seems that when my son hit the trail of ice, the car launched into the air, did a 180, and landed 100 feet away, in the wrong direction.
The car was totaled, totaled!
My son walked away with a broken nose, a pounding headache, and icy feet (because he refuses to wear winter clothing in Alaska in winter). We brought him home- safely, handed him Advil, had him take a warm shower, and off to bed he went.
I am sitting in my office, drinking lots of coffee and patiently waiting for him to wake up. He is legally an adult now, so there is not much I can do. I can’t call the insurance company- he has his own insurance policy. I can’t reach out to the tow truck- because I don’t know where to have it towed. I can’t make him a doctor’s appointment- he has his own medical plan.
There is nothing that I can do except make coffee.
The power of the parent is a strange thing. For 18 years- we have absolute control. Legally we can tell them- no, you are not going for a drive at midnight to ‘clear your head.’ We can say that word- NO.
Then, all of a sudden, the power is stripped away. We are banished to the sidelines to watch bad decisions, improper preparation, and tom-foolery happen without getting a vote.
My son is safe. Thank whatever God’s are listening. He is alive. The car is not. Now comes that horrible, long-drawn-out portion of trying to get life back on track. Insurance paperwork, auto-body shops, tow-trucks, not having the ability to take yourself places. All of it sucks.
The biggest irony- we were just talking about how I finally got my Jeep back from the shop after three and half weeks, and life was getting back to normal.
It’s a good thing that I know an excellent UBER driver.