Friday, March 7, 2008

Moms Know Best

One March morning, many years ago, I learned the truth in the "Mothers Know Best" saying. It was my day off, and since I had to pay for the babysitter regardless, I decided to drop 2-year-old Kyle off at the babysitters and get some things done. I threw on some sweatpants, put my hair in a ponytail, and rushed out the door without even brushing my teeth; I figured I'd come home and clean up after dropping him off. (Maybe I'd even take a bubble bath!)

It's also true what they say about auto accidents happening close to home. I was less than two miles from home when (driving about 35 miles per hour), I came up to the top of a rise to find the car ahead of me stopped, preparing to turn left. Just like in the movies, everything went in slow motion; I saw the car and tried to think of my options: Slam on the brakes? Did I possibly have enough room to stop? Should I pass on the left? No; another car was coming. Could I pull to the right, into the ditch? Too dangerous; it was snow-covered and slippery; I might flip the car. It felt like I had all the time in the world to decide, though it was only seconds. I chose to try to stop, but I ended up smacking into the back of the big "boat" in front of me anyway.

Just before impact, I did two stupid things. First, I reached my right arm over to protect Kyle, who was strapped in a carseat (this was before we were told to put carseats in the back). We all do it; stick our arms out protectively, as if the laws of motion could be thwarted by a maternal arm. It's just natural (if irrational).

The second dumb thing I did was brace myself with my left arm on the steering wheel. I never actually saw the airbag deploy, but I saw the mess left behind afterward, and I smelled its unforgettable chemical odor. My arm felt funny, and I couldn't move my hand. I decided to call my husband. (I know; weird.) Luckily, he advised me to hang up and call 911, which I then did.

Meanwhile, the guy I hit (perfectly in one piece and unharmed) had come back to see if I was okay, and I told him I thought I had broken something in my arm. The ambulance arrived, and the paramedics took Kyle (who was perfectly fine) out of the car and then carefully removed me as well. My left leg suddenly hurt a lot, so they whipped out a pair of scissors and began cutting my sweatpants off from the bottom up.

"WAIT!" I cried out. They stopped. "You know how your mom always tells you to wear clean underwear, in case you are in an accident?" They answered affirmatively. "Well....not only did I not listen to my mother about clean underwear, but I am actually not wearing any underwear at all. Plus, I haven't shaved my legs in a while...."

"Ma'am, we are going to have to cut your pants." Dear God. "But, I'll make sure you are covered." The paramedic whipped out roll of tape, and after he cut my pants up to my upper thighs, he taped them to my leg. Pretty nice, hey? It was actually kind of funny.

To make a longer story short, I broke my wrist and had a bruise on my left thigh (from the airbag) for more than a month, but Kyle and I were okay. Too bad I couldn't say the same for the Taurus; Mark's company car had been totalled. (On the bright side, his company had recently let him go, and he was to turn the car in two weeks. Oops.) And once more in life, I learned a lesson the hard way, because I hadn't listened to Mom.

In case you're wondering, these days, I always wear clean underwear when leaving the house, and today was no exception. (But my legs are kinda prickly....)


  1. i'm glad the injuries weren't more serious. funny things about moms. i don't ever go commando, and i nearly never shave my legs. though i do rip the hair out periodically with some sugar wax stuff, but only in summer. i need my winter coat of fur.

  2. Lol...oh no. I can imagine how awful this would be. I am glad Kyle was okay.

  3. I had an accident once and wouldn't let them take off my shoes because they were my stinky feet shoes.

    Oh well. I was wearing underwear, ha ha.

  4. Holy Crap, I just shuddered picturing 75% of my morning drives to take my own kids to school!

    I'm sure at the time there wasn't a whole lot to laugh at, but now it makes for one of those funny stories.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog BTW!


  5. Wow, glad everyone was OK, and it's definitely true about always having clean drawers on ... excellent advice!


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