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We Didn’t Have a Choice

I was on my way to work. Since Grace's day care is all but across the street from the school where I teach, I drop her off just before I get to work.

About a half mile from our schools, I stopped at a red light, the last car in a long line of traffic.

CDs flew past my face. Hitting the dash. Sunglasses hit the passenger seat.

What's happening?

My car's engine wasn't running, but I hadn't turned it off.

I couldn't think.

p5010301The instrument panel was illuminated with flashing lights.

Why are the lights all on?

Elmo was singing from the radio, but the car wasn't running. I hadn't touched the keys.

What happened to the engine?

The hood of my car was folded up in the window, and I could see a gray mini van behind my car, between us and the barrier of the bridge.

Grace! I couldn't breathe.

Grace was screaming. In my rear view mirror, I saw huge tears running down her ruddy cheeks; her fingers were white as she clutched her blanket.

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Screaming.

Who was driving the van?

I reached back, unbuckled my baby, and helped her to climb up into my lap. I felt her all over, and I asked if she had any boo boos. She didn't answer, just kept screaming. Her tiny arms squeezed me tightly.

Instinctively, I rocked from side to side, rubbing her back.

I sighed a long sigh and started to cry. I shook, and Grace's screams intensified.

Grace needs you to get it together.

I took a deep breath and held it until the tears stopped.

My hair was everywhere. I pulled it up this morning, didn't I? I felt around, and the clip I'd used earlier was still tangled in my hair. I pulled it back up, and glanced around for my cell phone.

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Police. I have to call 9-1-1.

I couldn't find my phone.

A woman was standing in front of my car. I nodded to her, and she quickly passed by.

I tried to open my door, but it was stuck. We couldn't get out.

I breathed another deep breath and held it to prevent another sob. I rubbed Grace's back and talked to her in my lowest, most calm voice.

You're okay, Pumpkin. Momma's okay. Everything will be all right.

So confused.

The teen who'd been driving the van stood at my window, searching for a sign. He looked terrified.

Police, paramedics, fire fighters. I found my phone, and I called my husband.

“We were in an accident. Someone hit us from behind and pushed us into another car. I think we're okay. We'll call you later.”

A tow truck appeared among the fire trucks and ambulances.

The car had to be loaded up onto the flatbed so that the scene could be cleared. We had to get out of the car. The police officer was kind. He helped me with our necessary things – car seat, stroller, purse, diaper bags.

My back was killing me.

The paramedics allowed me to choose between my family doctor, a mile away, and the emergency room.

My mom arrived. When I sat down in her car, safely out of sight of my scared babe, I cried and cried. The tears wouldn't stop. I just cried.

Physical exam, x-rays, pain. Confusion. Insurance adjusters. Questions. Tears.

I don't remember the crash.

Questions and tears.

The day went on for ever.

Submitted to Tell Me Thursday

Don't forget to stop back on Thursday for Grace's Kitchen!

© 2009 – 2018, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.

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37 thoughts on “We Didn’t Have a Choice

  1. Oh Tara, I’m sitting in my living room tears streaming down my face. I have never been in an accident with my babies…I would be terrified! I don’t know how you held it together.

    I’m so glad you’re all mostly safe. I hope your back feels better soon.

    Mom Of Faith’s last blog post..Wordless Wednesday

  2. Oh Tara, I’m sitting in my living room tears streaming down my face. I have never been in an accident with my babies…I would be terrified! I don’t know how you held it together.

    I’m so glad you’re all mostly safe. I hope your back feels better soon.

    Mom Of Faith’s last blog post..Wordless Wednesday

  3. Tara, being in an accident is beyond scary and sadly you know that it can be worse when your child is with you. Thank goodness you and Grace are both doing relatively well considering the way your car made out. I will say that a Britax car seat saved my oldest son’s life in a bad car accident. He has outgrown it and the little guy is now in it. It makes me feel so much better knowing they are secure in our cow seat. Hugs to you and I hope your back feels better soon.

  4. Tara, being in an accident is beyond scary and sadly you know that it can be worse when your child is with you. Thank goodness you and Grace are both doing relatively well considering the way your car made out. I will say that a Britax car seat saved my oldest son’s life in a bad car accident. He has outgrown it and the little guy is now in it. It makes me feel so much better knowing they are secure in our cow seat. Hugs to you and I hope your back feels better soon.

  5. Those pictures look awful. When my youngest was a year old I was in a wreck with him and I still remember how scared I was. I am so sorry this happened to you. I pray that your back feels better soon. I am glad to see you both are alright.

  6. So sorry you went through that. I am so happy your baby is ok and I hope you do not have a lasting issue with your back. It is very traumatic to be in an accident especially with your baby in the car. I happened to me 3 years ago and it still sends chills up my spine. My thoughts are with you.

    Dawn’s last blog post..Who’s Your Mommy?

  7. Those pictures look awful. When my youngest was a year old I was in a wreck with him and I still remember how scared I was. I am so sorry this happened to you. I pray that your back feels better soon. I am glad to see you both are alright.

  8. So sorry you went through that. I am so happy your baby is ok and I hope you do not have a lasting issue with your back. It is very traumatic to be in an accident especially with your baby in the car. I happened to me 3 years ago and it still sends chills up my spine. My thoughts are with you.

    Dawn’s last blog post..Who’s Your Mommy?

  9. Thank heaven you’re both OK. I’ve been in a wreck before – thankfully long before the guys came along – and it was exactly as you’ve so chillingly described it. Stuff flying around, the “what the heck happened” confusion.

    Did you ever find out what happened with the other driver? Was he just not paying attention? Thank goodness no one was seriously hurt while he, I hope, learned a lesson of a lifetime.

  10. Oh how scary! But I think it’s better not to remember accidents, they are too traumatic!

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  11. Oh how scary! But I think it’s better not to remember accidents, they are too traumatic!

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  12. Thank heaven you’re both OK. I’ve been in a wreck before – thankfully long before the guys came along – and it was exactly as you’ve so chillingly described it. Stuff flying around, the “what the heck happened” confusion.

    Did you ever find out what happened with the other driver? Was he just not paying attention? Thank goodness no one was seriously hurt while he, I hope, learned a lesson of a lifetime.

  13. Tara, what an experience. I’ve never been in an accident of this magnitude before and I pray I never well. Please accept my prayers and positive thoughts for you and Grace as you try to forget and heal, both physically and emotionally.

    Nikki @ The Guilty Parent’s last blog post..Mother’s Day: Renegotiating my Motherhood Contract for 2009-2010

  14. Tara, what an experience. I’ve never been in an accident of this magnitude before and I pray I never well. Please accept my prayers and positive thoughts for you and Grace as you try to forget and heal, both physically and emotionally.

    Nikki @ The Guilty Parent’s last blog post..Mother’s Day: Renegotiating my Motherhood Contract for 2009-2010

  15. How terrible! We got rear ended the day after Christmas (this past one.) I was 9 months pregnant and my 3 year old was in the back seat. Everyone was ok, but it was scary. I’m glad you and Grace are ok, and I hope you are not hurting too bad.

    Angela’s last blog post..Sinupret Winners!

  16. How terrible! We got rear ended the day after Christmas (this past one.) I was 9 months pregnant and my 3 year old was in the back seat. Everyone was ok, but it was scary. I’m glad you and Grace are ok, and I hope you are not hurting too bad.

    Angela’s last blog post..Sinupret Winners!

  17. One of my biggest fears is not being in an accident, but being in an accident with any or all three of my kids in the car.

    I got chills just reading this post, and I am so glad to hear you are all *relatively* okay . . .

    Lis Garrett’s last blog post..Summer On A Budget

  18. One of my biggest fears is not being in an accident, but being in an accident with any or all three of my kids in the car.

    I got chills just reading this post, and I am so glad to hear you are all *relatively* okay . . .

    Lis Garrett’s last blog post..Summer On A Budget

  19. This is an amazing story!!!!! I am very happy- and you must be thankfull that you are alive!

    My friend died in an accident just because of a wreckless teenager!

    Its nervewrecking to think that your brain can just shut off like that! But well done on getting everything together so quickly and calming your child… This prevents a lot of trauma!

    Hope you are living the chance to a 2nd life to the fullest!

  20. This is an amazing story!!!!! I am very happy- and you must be thankfull that you are alive!

    My friend died in an accident just because of a wreckless teenager!

    Its nervewrecking to think that your brain can just shut off like that! But well done on getting everything together so quickly and calming your child… This prevents a lot of trauma!

    Hope you are living the chance to a 2nd life to the fullest!

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