I felt a strange sense of parental pride when my 20 year old son couldn’t wait to share the news of his car accident. He arrived home from a daytime event as I was getting ready for bed. I yelled out a hello from my distant bedroom when he came home. “How was Weehawken?” That’s the real name of the town, and I just loved saying it out loud.
“Terrible.” he said.
That’s a strong word; one a mother never wants to hear. I immediately grew concerned, but was relieved to see my son hurry over to tell me what happened. He was obviously fine.
“What happened? Why was it terrible?” He was at a photo shoot.
“I wrecked my car.” The only thing that mattered was that he was ok. As parents, we are forced to let our children go out into the world risking their safety. Perhaps we feel this most acutely when they start driving. I had been down that road twice by this time.
He seemed oddly excited to tell me the details. He may have been in shock, or at minimum, had adrenaline running. Kids naturally want to share the happenings of their lives with their parents, unless doing so will get them into trouble.
He was very quick to reassure me that he was fine.
“Is your car ok?”
“No, it’s pretty fucked up.”
“It was totally my fault. It was dark. I wasn’t really sure where I was going. The GPS told me to make a U-turn. It was in a place where there were no U-turns allowed, but I couldn’t really tell. The guy T-boned me.”
“Was anyone injured?”
“The guy in the other car broke his wrist and was taken to the hospital in an ambulance.”
I knew this was a very upsetting detail. I offered my son a hug. He tried to brush it off saying he was fine, but I insisted. I knew he had had a truly terrible night. He said the crash happened at 8:00, and it was now 10:15. It was kind of cute how he still needed to tell his Mom his troubles. It reminded me of the days when he was little and had a skinned knee or other childhood hurt and would run to his Mom or Dad for help. Bigger kids, bigger problems.