August 4, 2007
Parenting. Changed forever.
A few days ago, while accelerating from a red light, I got rear ended pretty good by a Ford Explorer. I got slightly startled and, contrary to what many advised, no signs of "whiplash". No big deal.
And, no anger.
Some damage from a frightened twentysomething woman who didn't know what to do. I had some paper and wrote down the relevant information for both of us. She seemed a little stunned and sorry. Very non-Paris Hilton. Both vehicles driveable, we went on our way.
Within an hour, her father was on the phone asking if he could pay the damage without insurance involvement. Too happy to oblige, I tracked down an estimate and her father gasped. He went with the insurance and gave me all the information I needed. He also told me how many nights he lay awake worrying about his daughter's driving and how great a daughter she was, "She does everything right, she's a great kid." Insurance proceedings have progressed uneventfully and within a couple weeks and a little inconvenience, I'll probably have forgotten the incident. Unfortunately, my taillight assembly is currently held on with (matching) duct tape so my vehicle is barely street legal.
What surprised me was my reaction. Big picture: no one hurt. On a lesser scale: I felt horrible the entire day for the young woman (probably her first accident), her financially-burdened and worried father and my parents who tolerated my automobile mishaps throughout my life (I had MANY). It was a slightly scary reminder of how long the challenge of parenthood is - forever. Most of it good, much of it scary. It also made me laugh at the silliness of parenting classes. Nothing can prepare you for this journey.