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"Hi Mom, I Just Totaled My Car"

There are much worse phone calls a parent can get. Meet the car that saved our son's life.

It happened on a Wednesday afternoon as my son was making the notoriously difficult turn out of , onto Drew Road. His ill-timed turn would teach him one of life's biggest lessons--teens really don't know everything, especially when it comes to getting behind the wheel of a car.

It was a driver's side impact I'm sure he'll never forget. This was his first accident and luckily, the only thing he lost was his car.

The wreckage serves as a reminder that even the "safest" teen drivers lack one essential ingredient that many adult drivers possess after years on the road--experience. 

I was at home without a car myself when the accident happened. We'd given our boy the old 1998 Mercedes-Benz thinking it might just save his life one day. That notion became a reality last Wednesday.  

When my cell phone rang I was surprised to see that it was my son. He's a "big senior" now and those mandatory, "I'm going to drive home now," calls have started to wane. The most I get these days is a text that reads, "Coming home."

"Hi!" I exclaimed, excited that he'd taken the extra time to verbally let me know he was on his way.

His voice was calm and even as he spoke. "Hi Mom, I've been t-boned but I'm okay."

He went on to explain that he'd already called the police, they'd arrived, and miraculously, no one had been hurt.

Without panic or the expected frantic response from a worrier like myself, I simply said, "Okay, I will get to you. Stay put, I will get to you."

A strange sort of numbness crept over me as I tried to visualize the scene of the accident. 

So many times, I've said to my son, "Be careful. Look left and right ten times if you must, but don't ever pull out in front of anyone." 

We've all heard the old saying-- Life just rolls along until somebody t-bones you on a beautiful afternoon, and your whole world turns on a dime.

I couldn't bring myself to call anyone, not even my parents or husband, until I could put my eyes on this boy of mine who was doing his best to remain calm over the phone. I had to see him for myself.

I threw open the front door wondering how I was going to get to the scene of the accident. I saw that my next door neighbor was home, so I went over and rang his doorbell. I started to explain--and I cried (surprise!) and within minutes, we were on our way to the school. 

When I got to the school's entrance, I saw the wrangled driver's side of our previously pristine car. I knew that car was gone for good, but all the world was right, because nobody was injured in this accident!

There are newer Mercedes-Benz cars, better Mercedes-Benz models, sure, but this old car was the very best we could afford to put our son in, and it had done it's job. It had lived up to its name.

Standing there on the side of Drew Road after the accident, this was one occasion where I was allowed to hug my kid as much as I wanted. I tried to act somewhat reserved so as not embarrass him, but I hugged him anyway, touched his face and pushed his hair away from his forehead. He still looks like a baby when I do that.

He pushed it back into place, though not with the usual annoyance.

After we got home I took free reign in the hugs department. I held him tightly and it felt like I'd received a gift as great as the day he'd been born.

My husband came home early from work as soon as he'd heard the news. When he walked through the front door and locked eyes with our son, it was the first time I'd ever seen the two of them well up over the exact same thing for the exact same reasons. 

My son looked sheepishly into my husband's eyes. "I'm sorry I ruined the car dad."

His apology was met with another hug and a simple but profound response, "But you're here. You're here, and not hurt."

"That's the whole reason we got you that car to begin with."

Sondra September 27, 2011 at 12:00 PM
A parent's worst nightmare, even when they are older but still less experienced. Glad he was physically ok.
Kristen Berry September 28, 2011 at 03:45 PM
Thank you Sondra!

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