October 30, 2020

scary call, not the Halloween kind

When I can see on my caller ID that one of the kids is calling me shortly after they've left the house, my heart races. When it is a 'nothing' phone call instead of the dreaded 'I just got in a car accident', I exhale loudly in total relief.  

The kids make fun of me, citing my nerves as over-the-top, ridiculous, another sign that I'm losing it.

At 5:15 on Wednesday (Aug 26th), Mini called me. She was on her way home from tennis practice at the high school with her BFF. BFF has her license, as does Mini.  But BFF is the oldest, so she doesn't arm wrestle anyone for the rights to the teen car. BFF has turned into Mini's chauffeur.  

Mini:  Mommy, we were in an accident. (sobbing) BFF rear-ended someone. No one's hurt. Come get me. I am in front of Culvers. It just happened. It's all my fault!

My gut lurched. I stopped dead in my tracks when I heard:  ALL MY FAULT.  Shit, what was she doing? Mini is the comic of her friends. Was she clowning around?  

Me:  What were you DOING?

Mini:  Nothing. (sobbing) I just mean, (gasp) if she didn't always have to drive me home . . . she was driving me home as usual. If she wasn't driving me home, she wouldn't have hit this other car. (sobbing)

Me:  OK, I know Mini. It isn't your fault though. Thank God everyone's OK. I'll be right there. Have you called the police?

Coach was closer to the accident than I was. He was at the pool with Curly for a quick swim before dinner. I called him and he agreed to meet me there.

The banged up car was in the middle of the street. More gut lurching. It was more than a fender bender. Yikes. Car totaled.  

BFF was talking to the policeman. He wanted to talk to the other passengers. The other girls (3 others including Mini) were hiding behind the restaurant. They didn't want the policeman to know that there were 3 passengers in the car, because in the state of Illinois a driver BFF's age is only allowed ONE passenger.

I texted Mini and ordered her to come out of hiding. While she was talking to the cop, Coach and I approached BFF. Her mom, our very good friend, was talking to the other parents. I got all choked up when BFF grabbed hold of Coach when he hugged her, like she was never going to let go. When I hugged her, she whispered to me:  "I'm so afraid of my mom."

The woman, whose car BFF hit when she didn't notice her stopped to pull into the restaurant, told the policeman that there were 3 passengers in the car, so their attempt at hiding was blown. He spoke to all of the girls.

The woman they hit also told the police that she raised 4 kids. She wasn't interested in having him write BFF a ticket. So forgiving. BFF didn't get a ticket for having too many girls in the car either. The officer asked BFF'S mom if she wanted him to do that to teach her a lesson. Our friend was like, no. Lesson learned.  

Ironically when the accident took place, Mini was not speaking to me. I grounded her for better part of the week. She went away for the weekend of the 21st to a friend's lake house. I told her MANY TIMES before she left:  do X, Y, AND Z.  When her ride arrived, she rushed to the door and when I asked, she assured me:  X,Y, AND Z DONE!

Not. So. Much. 

** (Oct 29th edit: one of 'my' babies is napping in Mini's room right now - if he was awake and I snuck in there to take a photo of the state of this room YOU WOULD ALL BE APPALLED. **

I vacuumed the entire upstairs that weekend while she was gone. I moved things, in all the bedrooms. Picture a bulldozer. Mini is not the only one with a problem, but her ability to dump it in her closet floor and act like "Well, that's done" - kills me.

She was ticked that I grounded her. All her friends were gathering to e-learn together at someone's house. She claimed that the boys don't deal with similar aftermath. I have stood in Tank's room and demanded he handle his mess before going out with friends. The difference is she LEFT FOR THE WEEKEND AND LIED THAT SHE HAD DONE HER STUFF.  

Well, no one hates being accused of a double standard more than me, because that was how I was raised.  I felt icky all week, regardless of whether or not she deserved her week-long punishment. Mini is usually chatty with me. The week sucked, but I stuck to my guns. I DID agree to release her a bit early.

While I was on a book club zoom, Mini delivered me dessert.  Heavy on the cool whip . . . there is fruit in there somewhere.  See her attached note:  UNGROUND ME FOR THE WEEKEND PLEASE.  Well, I had already told Coach I was going to let her off a few days early for good behavior, but excess cool whip never hurts.

Then the accident happened. It was a tearful evening. Mini was so worried that BFF would be in trouble. Mini was hit by the air bag and a little sore from where the seat-belt hit her, but it could've been worse.  

BFF is driving again, but not allowed to drive any friends. Makes total sense, but there aren't enough cars in our house to go around.  

Guess what is fun with e-learning:  getting a kid to sports practice at 3:00 when I have babies napping. Never figured that bit of inconvenience into the equation.  Tank and Reg golf (varsity vs JV), and Tank drives. Sometimes the boys golf in two different locations. More fun.  

Here I was, not going to talk about cars again for awhile after all my 'guess what car is in the shop this week' posts.  

Were you ever successful at wiggling out of a punishment?  Were you raised by the double standard?

**This is appearing long after the fact, so I figured I'd reference Halloween. If I had the time and you all had the patience, I could share something every day. Instead, we must live in this world of delayed posts.**



Nicole MacPherson said...

Oh, I'm so glad no one was hurt! And how kind of that woman to forgive so readily. For the record, whenever the phone rings and it's the school, my heart rate doubles until I find out it's a recording "reminder no school tomorrow" or whatever.

Ernie said...

Nicole- that accident was so scary. I think it got the girls' attention and they will probably all be more cautious.

A few times I have either left my house shortly after one of my kids or been on my way home shortly after they were due home and I have encountered slowed traffic and emergency vehicles. Always jarring as I fear that I will discover my kids' car is one of the cars involved when I drive by.

Maybe I am just the type of mom that jumps to conclusions, but it is nerve wracking to have teen drivers

Kari said...

SO scary! I am glad no one was hurt. Anna was in a car accident on the way to school in her junior year. She was driving and her best friend was in the passenger seat. It was in the morning but they had gotten Starbucks and I think they weren't really paying attention and tried to merge and rear-ended a nice older couple in a minivan. They were SO lucky to get this couple. So sweet and understanding. I told this couple over and over how lovely they were and they said the same thing- we had children too and they got it. Never filed a complaint or anything.

Teenagers will give you grays. SIGH. Sending you a huge hug.

Kara said...

Three days ago, my oldest texted me "So there was an accident on Broadyway." and left it at that. I'm frantically texting her. Get home. She pulls in 15 minutes later. No, she wasn't involved, just SAW the accident on Broadway. Kids will be the death of me.

I was in car accidents that totaled two cars before I was 18. I was the driver both times, but not at fault either time. First accident, I was hit by a guy who had his license taken away because he was legally blind. His wife said it made him feel like less of a man, so she navigated while he drove around- I got a mild concussion but still had to take my chemistry final the next day. He tore the front end off my car. The second accident was closer to being my fault, but was blamed on the weather. It was a very snowy winter, and the city had run out of places for snow, so it was piling up way too high around parking lots. I left work after 9 PM one night and was pulling around a snowbank at the same time someone else was coming from the other side. Head on collision. Both cars then skidded out on ice, and mine slammed into a snowbank with a light pole on the passenger side as well.

Ally Bean said...

No one was hurt so it's a good story to tell. The note is priceless, but the use of Cool Whip as part of the plea is inspired. Or maybe it's a bribe... 🤔

Ernie said...

Kari - I see why they made the law limiting the number of kids in a car . . . I still remember my high school days and the laughter and nonsense that clearly served as a distraction to the young driver . . . and that was all before Starbucks.

I have never colored my hair and I think it is a freak of nature that I am not pure gray at this stage of the game.

Ernie said...

Kara - yes, being a parent to teens is not for the faint of heart. Nerves of steel seems to be a requirement.

Snowy weather just adds to the possibility of disaster in these parts.

Totaling two cars - yikes. I cannot BELIEVE the wife drove around with a blind husband. What was she doing channeling her inner 'Scent of a Woman' secret-death-wish-self? Sheesh. Glad you were not seriously injured.

Ernie said...

Ally - Ha. I find any use of Cool Whip to be inspired. So true. I should've taken the photo when she initially handed me the bowl. I made her take some out and put it in another bowl for another person to enjoy - how many servings can one person ingest? Sadly, I think I can answer that.

Bibliomama said...

My sister got into an accident - hit a bear - with a friend on the big highway between two major cities here. The cop called my mom and led with "your daughter has been in an accident" like an idiot (both girls were fine) and then my mom called the other girl's mom and did the EXACT SAME THING. I am an overly nervous mother when my kids are out - with Angus away I am usually okay, but if I text him and don't hear back right away I catastrophize. Thank god for cellphones, I don't know how my parents did it.

Ernie said...

Ali- hello cop, get a clue. That would have sent me over the edge.

Funny you should mention kids NOT responding. Ed is either great at communication or we suspect he has died. Today being one of those "why the he'll has he not responded" days. Finally he got in touch. Coach and I were cleaning the older boys' room up.

Lad left it in disarray. Understatement. I was texting Ed to ask if certain items were his. Hours passed before he responded. Coach shared that he texted him Thursday and never heard back. So all in all a relaxing afternoon.

Lad pocket dialed me more than once in the middle of the night his soph year. Then he would not respond. Something was wrong with his phone, but we had just dropped him off in NY for the first time. I called his coach and got a response straight away. He was mortified.

Suz said...

I too was the nervous Mom when my girls started driving. I did a LOT of praying! Lolo had a fender bender her senior year of HS; ran into the back of someone at a stoplight and you would have thought she'd murdered an entire family with the hysterics.
I was adamant about them not having friends in the car too because of I think that law really is a good thing.
I'm happy to know that everyone was safe though and I'm sure this is a big lesson learned to all involved.

I didn't have to do a lot of grounding, so I didn't need to let up. I didn't have much discipline growing up....because that would have meant someone was 'paying attention' to what I was doing at all times. Did I mention I grew up unattended for the most part? :)

Ernie said...

Suz - Lad totalled a car running late for school. Shock. Ed backed off our driveway and slightly tapped a parked car. Lad did that too, but drove away and tried to pretend he hadn't dented the car and then cops came, etc. Oh, the teen years.

Clearly you were a law trend setter with your advance caution having your girls drive without friends.

Still amazing that you turned out so great considering your lack of supervision. You must just have some built in good sense.

I have not done much grounding here either. Usually I assign stuff around the house that no one wants to do, but if the girl's room is hazardous to the point I fear for my life when I enter to put a baby down for a nap - then extra jobs is probably not the answer. I was like JUST DO THE ONE TASK SO I DON'T FALL OVER TRYING TO WADE THROUGH YOUR CRAP TO GET TO THE PACK AND PLAY.

Update, that grounding did little . . . she just CANNOT keep a clear path in her room. She might be looking at rooming in a single in college.