And so it happened. The phone call that as parents we knew to expect sooner or later, came in last night right around dinner time.
It was Eldest Weasel and she was out of breath. In a shaky voice she began apologizing to me. She was obviously upset and was not making much sense. "Calm down kiddo and tell me what's wrong". She had been in her first car accident. "Are you okay?", yes she was. "Where are you?" prompted her to tell me her location. "Mom, I can't find my front end!".
"We'll be right there" flowed from my lips instinctively. There was no conscious thought on my behalf at that point in time. I didn't need any. Natural instinct kicked in and I swung into action to get to my child. I knew she was physically okay, but she was shaken and scared. She needed her Mom.
Maternal instinct coupled with years of experience worked together like a well oiled machine to allow me to have the entire situation under control without having to put any thought into it.
- Call Mr. Weasel and have him drop what he is doing and come pick me up with the other car.
- Calm and assure the other Weasels that their sister is safe and Mom and Dad are on our way to help her.
- Put Monkey Weasel in charge of setting the table for dinner.
- Have Boy Weasel finish preparing dinner and feed his sisters.
- Grab my phone and be waiting in the driveway for Mr. Weasel.
She had been on her way home from Cross Country practice. Three cars had been involved in the accident, two of which (including ours) were team members. After calling parents and police the girls had the presence of mind to call their coaches*. Smart move to call trusted adults that you know are only 2 minutes away from you when you know that the police will arrive before your parents can.
*Her coaches are a credit to coaching. Not only do they love what they do and do it well, they care about their athletes as a whole and not just on the course. They were there immediately and even after seeing that everyone was okay, stuck around in case we needed any help. They even offered the cash they had on hand to post the bond on the girls tickets.
Hugging Eldest and continually trying to convince her that it's all okay, was not working. She felt awful that Keith (her name for the car that she most often drives) was in bad shape and the lurch that would put our family in. She's never had to deal with the police before and was quite overwhelmed by the entire incident. The sound and feel of impact are not pleasant experiences.
We changed tactic to what would assure her that all was okay. Her dad and I starting joking. That's how we roll. If Mom and Dad are joking around, she knows that everything will be all right.
I told her what to expect from the police (paperwork, report and a ticket) and let her deal with the officer. I let her know what to expect from insurance. She handled everything very well and I was proud of how she composed and carried herself.
All in all, I think that this accident was good thing. Two important lessons were learned. Eldest Weasel, being a fairly new driver, learned that accidents will happen even if you were driving just the way you should be and that you need to be hyper aware of what everyone else around you is doing and all without anyone getting injured. She will be a better driver due to experience.
I learned that my little girl has grown into an independent and responsible young woman. Sure, she needed her Mom, but she only needed me for emotional support and reassurance
Still, anytime in life that she reaches out to us we'll be right there.