Just so you know...this is a long post. It helped to write about it.
The boys are on spring break this week, and since our job upset, our ski trip to Utah is canceled. Ever the look on the good side folks, we decided to head out to the country for a few days to enjoy the woods, the sunshine, and each other. Our youngest stayed in the city. He and some friends went to an afternoon movie. The plan was for him to arrive around 7 for dinner. The hubby and I went ahead to the country. Steve was out in the office doing some work and I was out in the yard raking out a few leaves and trimming some bushes. The sun was warm and those flower beds were calling. I was just itching to pull and uncover, but I knew it was still too early. It was a good day.
Steve appeared suddenly on the front porch with his phone in one hand and his keys in the other. His face looked odd, almost blank. I asked him what was up. Jon's been in an accident. The words just kind of stood there, floating. Jon's been in an accident. The words echoed and then pictures flashed, scenes, scenarios. In just a fraction of a second Steve said Jon's OK. I felt like I stood there for minutes, but I just found myself heading mindlessly to the car. As soon as my seatbelt was fastened I started peppering Steve with questions, what happened, where is he, are you sure he's alright. It was probably a good thing that Steve took the call, he is matter of fact and business like when it comes to a crisis. I just wanted Jon next to me. I wanted to see his face and look him in the eyes and know he was OK, I wanted to be there for him.
As we headed down the driveway I knew we were over an hour away from the city. The only thing Steve could tell me after the initial call was that Jon had said that everyone was OK and that Steve had told him to call 911. He also said that the accident was on Interstate 35. For those of you not in the Kansas City area, understand that I-35 is one of those mega busy, packed in rush hour highways. I instinctively looked at the clock. 5:15...rush hour. New pictures flashed through my mind...I wondered if he was still in the car. Did he get out of the car in rush hour? What lane was he in? How many cars were involved? Was he safe? Steve had told him to call back when the police arrived. As we drove, we talked with Jon, drove, talked, drove. I held back all of my questions. We reassured him, answered his questions, advised him what to do, where to find the registration and the insurance card, what information to get and give. I wanted to know that someone was there taking care of him like I would. We were still driving.
Every time we talked it was short. I could hardly hear him because of the noise at the side of the road. I was thinking of him, handling it on his own, advocating for himself, dealing with the hurt and the anger. I knew he was mad at himself. I still didn't know what had happened. When he said everyone was alright, I assumed that his friends were with him in the car. In one way it worried me, was he distracted? Another side of me was comforted knowing he wasn't alone. He had someone there with him, a friend to lean on. About the 3rd call I found out it was a multiple car accident and when he referred to "everyone" he meant all the drivers. He was alone in the car and dealing with the accident on his own.
As we reached the outskirts of the city, Steve turned on the radio. And then I heard it, the KMBZ traffic report. "Slow on northbound I-35, multiple car accident in the left lane at Johnson Drive." It was Jon. The traffic report sounds different when you know who is in one of those cars. How many times have I heard the traffic report or driven by accidents and sighed with relief knowing it wasn't one of mine. I always think, where are my boys or when I drive by an accident, I always look at the color or make of the car. I silently say, good, it's not a white car. If I'm not sure, I call to find out where they are. This time I didn't have to call and I knew when I got there that the color would be right, and the make and model would be a match.
As we neared the accident site I was looking, but trying not to look. I saw a tow truck with a small blue sports car. Smushed. Oh God, I whispered quietly under my breath. At that moment, Jon called and said the highway patrol was dropping him off at a nearby shopping center. I was only minutes away. As we drove up, there he was standing on the sidewalk carrying the accident report in one hand and his laptop in the other. He got into the car and said I'm OK.
Good to hear, but I didn't believe him. He looked pale, stressed, and yet relieved. We didn't hug until we got back home. He held on a bit longer than usual. I have a few more details now though I tried not to bombard him with questions and make him explain it all. We fed him and he packed a bag and we all got in the car together and headed back out to the country.
He shared about the experience during the hour drive. He had the presence of mind to take pictures with his camera phone at the accident site. He showed us the pictures. Turns out that that the car in front of him hit a car, slammed on the brakes, Jon slammed on his brakes and bumped her. There was no damage to her car and only a scratch on the front of our car. The car behind Jon was going really fast (Jon says 80 mph) and slammed his little blue sports car into the back of Jon's car. There is not much left of that little blue car. The back of Jon's car (I should say my car) is really messed up. It was towed away. We'll deal with that tomorrow. Jon said the only time he lost it a bit was when he couldn't find his glasses. He can't see much without those glasses. They flew off at impact along with his cell phone and laptop which were both sitting in the passenger seat. The miracle is that no one was hurt.
He handled himself beautifully, stayed calm. He's still angry with himself, (even angrier with the driver of the blue car.) He told me quietly as we went down to see his grandma and grandpa, "Mom, I am still violation free, just not accident free." I'm proud of him.
He's hurting. His head, neck and back are sore. I think he'll be hurting more in the morning. I didn't tell him, but I took him down to see his grandparents because my mom is a nurse. I wanted her to take a peek at him We'll see if he needs to go to the doctor tomorrow. His head hit the steering wheel pretty hard. As I write he's downstairs playing the piano, writing a song for a friend. He's doing what he loves to do. I'm listening as he plays. Relieved to know he really is OK.
Our Jon in a silly moment with his new Christmas hat! Give your kids an extra hug tonight. I'm counting my blessings.