The words seemed to hang in the air as a slow wave of fear formed in the pit of my stomach. This was the second time in less than a year the phrase, “Mom I crashed,” was being spoken to me. I immediately pulled off the highway to talk to my 17 year old son on the other end of the phone.
The Salinas Valley Fair was coming up later in the week and we were planning to camp nearby as Cory and Olivia showed their pigs they raised for a 4H project. The problem was the campground filled up faster than expected and we were without a reservation—landing us 27th on the waiting list for overflow.
Ed had talked to a John-Candy-look-alike ranger over the weekend who said he had 7 sites with hook-ups set aside and was willing to sell them starting on Monday: first come, first serve.
We didn’t NEED to start camping ‘til Wednesday, but Eddie knew I NEEDED full hook-ups so he decided to drive our RV to King City early. Cory was going to drive the 90 minutes down to give him a ride home.
As Cory was walking out the door, I stopped him and delivered a passionate speech about the dangers of driving highway 101 during the evening commute through Salinas… lots of speeding cars navigating only two southbound lanes. He promised to be careful.
“Mom. I’m fine. I was in a car accident, but I’m fine,” I willed myself to remain calm as the story unfolded. Cory explained a mini-van had suddenly pulled in front of the line of cars causing everyone to slam on their brakes. He managed to stop in time, however, the guy behind him did not… rear-ending the corner of Cory’s truck and landing in a ditch.
At this point I launched into a second impassioned speech telling Cory to NOT let the other guy leave the scene of the accident. (Apparently the “landed in a ditch” part of the story was not registering.)
“Take a picture of his driver’s license, license plate, insurance card, your truck… EVERYTHING.”
Cory quickly hung up stammering something about needing to get his truck off the road. WHAAATTT?? !
Ed and Cory were both stranded and while Cory’s truck was not drivable, Ed seemed to be not reachable, and I was 40 minutes north of the accident.
It’s a mixture of feeling sick, relieved and very emotional all at the same time.
I got back on the highway heading south toward Cory while trying to reach Ed. About 15 minutes down the road, Cory called, letting me know a fireman had tweaked the back end of his truck and he was able to keep driving toward his dad. He again assured me that although his head had snapped forward and then back, he had not hit it against anything and felt fine.
Ed was a bit shocked at what had transpired and super frustrated with his phone… not one text or voicemail had come through.
The guys slowly made their way home with Ed driving (I realize I don’t usually use slowly and Ed’s driving in the same sentence) and Cory sleeping. Cory seemed slightly dazed from all that happened and had a headache. He continued saying he was fine, just a bit shaken up and trying to process the last couple hours.
The next morning, he was acting SO strange— groggy, frustrated and unable to stay on task with getting ready. I knew his allergies were bad, but he absolutely had to go school. It was the week before finals and he was already going to be missing Thursday and Friday for the fair. He had a math quiz that morning along with tons of reviewing in his other classes.
I let him take his time getting out the door, providing him with a note excusing his tardy, allergy medicine and ibuprofen.
Within the hour the school nurse called wanting to send Cory home. She suspected he had a concussion and needed rest. I felt like the worst mom ever! I hadn’t even mentioned the crash in the note, blaming his tardiness on severe allergies. It never even crossed my mind!
Our doctor confirmed Cory was displaying all the symptoms of a concussion. He explained it can happen even though his head hadn’t hit anything. The whiplash movement of the sudden jerking was enough to cause the problem. He was most likely able to function so well the night of the crash due to the rush of adrenaline.
Cory was to take a break from academics and screens… phone, computer, tv. Nothing cognitively taxing for a few days.
The next afternoon we were headed back to King City for the fair. On the drive down, a friend called and we began chatting about our families. She shared how she and her husband spend a few minutes every morning praying together for their kids and how it’s making all the difference. I texted her later asking what they specifically pray about.
This is what she said:
“We pray that God will allow us to accept our kids the way God created them and show us how we can support them. We have prayed to let go of our expectations of what we thought our kids should be like and ask for wisdom to recognize them for who God made them to be. We pray for protection and for God to send good people into their lives to help them along. We pray for the strength to turn off the Xbox One! Haha. We thank God for the lessons they teach us and for the opportunity to grow closer to God as we journey together through the ups and downs of being a family.”
Isn’t that BEAUTIFUL!
My friend went on to say how much God is blessing their marriage because of this daily discipline of a few minutes of prayer together.
It was a good reminder to Eddie and me to not let the busyness of life crowd out the most important thing.
Cory recovered and is doing really well. I find myself copying my friend’s prayer outline for Jessica, Cory and Olivia… with A LOT of emphasis on the protection part for my little mister! …
… He’s gonna need it ’cause I JUST discovered he ate all the ice cream!