Sunday, February 07, 2010

We're Safe

There's a reason we drive a Toyota Sequoia.

I'd like to say my gas pedal got stuck. It didn't. Our car isn't even part of the recall.

What happened is I hit a car as it was turning in front of me.

Sawyer and Sage were in the back. In the calmest voice possible I asked if they were okay. They were strapped securely in their car seats (Sawyer is old enough and big enough for a booster. I am grateful we still have him in a five-point harness). Xander was safe at home, napping.

Sage was scared. She asked if the police were coming, if we were going to be arrested and put in jail.

I assured her we were not in trouble and the police would help us. We got out of the car and onto the sidewalk. We were less than two minutes away from our destination, but we weren't going to make it that day.

The driver of the other car was fine, physically. But shaken up. Her kids were NOT in her car. Thankfully.

The impact somehow ripped the front passenger-side wheel right off her car. We saw it later under our car when the tow truck guy drove it out of the intersection. Yes, our car still drove. But the passenger-side bumper was scraping the tire. It was leaking fluid.

And, um, yeah, it didn't have much of a front end.

Nice grill, huh?

The car is made to crumple on impact. And it did. My airbags did not deploy, however, even though the ones in the car I hit did. Maybe this accounts for the whiplash I have this morning?

Two incredibly nice women who were at the light when the accident happened pulled over and waited with us. I have to say my kids were awesome. They got stickers from the firemen and a policeman. We got the car seats out and they sat in them on the sidewalk. I found two blankets in the car and covered them. It had been pouring but the whole time we were there the sun was peeking through.

I couldn't stop shaking.

The whole gamut of "what-ifs" ran through my mind like a locomotive. What if someone had been hurt? What if I had left two minutes earlier or two minutes later? What if the other driver had done the same? It wasn't like I was on the phone. I hadn't turned my head to talk to the kids. I don't know exactly how it happened, to be honest. Still don't. Went over it again and again and again in my head.

It was a grand time standing out there, waiting for David.

I had called him right after the accident and got no answer. I knew he was on the treadmill and couldn't hear the phone. I called my neighbor who went down there and pounded on the door.  When David then called, the conversation was full of long pauses. His. He was not happy.

But when he and my neighbor arrived 20 minutes later, he was actually impressed. He didn't realize that when I said the car was creamed, I wasn't speaking in hyperbole or being dramatic. For a change. He was very relieved everyone was okay.

(If the cop in the yellow jacket moved a little to his right, you'd be able to see the front end of the other car, missing its tire.)

We finally got home (the big kids rode with our neighbor). Then we had to figure out how we were going to fit three car seats in the back of our sedan. Not happening. We got Sawyer a new booster, since the ones our car seats deconstruct to are too wide. Sage is back in her old Britax (she's not quite 40 pounds yet), and Xander's Britax is in the middle.

All five of us piled into it to go to a party last night.

They offered helpful tips to David as he drove.

Don't go too fast, Daddy.

Don't hit any cars.

I had to smile. They were right.

Best part? I could reach back and touch all my kids.

They were close.

Most important, they were safe.

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