I’ve been hesitant to write about this since the day it happened. Partially because I felt like I hadn’t done everything in my power to protect my daughter, and partially because it was horrible day. But here we are. Back in July, I finished helping Sarah pack her car to take Sophia down to the beach for the weekend. She was taking a half day, picking Sophia up from daycare and heading down to Rehoboth to spend the weekend with her sister and her boyfriend. I couldn’t go because I had plans to do a day of brewery tours with my buddies and wouldn’t have been home in time to go with them.
Sophia and I were a little late getting out the door to go to daycare. I needed gas, so that added to the delay. After pulling out of the gas station just down the street from our house, I proceeded down the road like I do every morning. Sitting at a red light, the light turns green and I start to pull into the intersection. That’s when it happened.
Like a flash in front of my eyes, a car blew the red light from my left, didn’t slow down, didn’t swerve, didn’t do anything. I slammed on my breaks, but it was too late. CRASH. I slammed my front end into the passenger side of her Chrysler 3000. My car’s shifter was locked in drive, I couldn’t turn my keys, or move my car. As I sat there in shock, I forgot Sophia was sitting in her car seat behind me. Until her cries of fear started playing in my ears. While trying to get my car to move, anywhere, a woman ran to my window and suggested I grab Sophia and get out of the car since there were fluids pouring from my engine block.
I hopped out of the car, ran around the back, and pulled Sophia out of the car. To my surprise, she was just a little bit scared and calmed down very quickly. While we stood on the corner waiting for the police to arrive, she was well-behaved, listened to what I said, and basically just laughing while talking to the witnesses who had stopped to help us. Once the police finished with their report, they sent us on our way. To my surprise, they didn’t offer us a ride the mile up the road back to our house. Maybe since we didn’t have a car seat for them to use, there was a liability issue. Sarah had just gotten to work when I got a hold of her to tell her what happened, so we had about 45 minutes until she could make it back. There was no way that Sophia would last another 45 minutes standing on the street corner of a busy intersection. So, we walked. My two-year-old walked with me hand-in-hand the mile home and was amazingly calm and collected as the cars whizzed by us.
When we got home, she was great. Acted like nothing had happened. All she could say about the accident was “Daddy’s car broken?” The entire situation floored me when it came to her response. I always knew that kids were resilient, but I was shocked to see just how resilient Sophia had been with the accident. While I freaked out, forgot she was with me in the car, and felt like I didn’t do my job as her dad, she was cool, calm, and collected. Honestly, a day doesn’t pass that this little girl doesn’t amaze me and that day just took the cake.
The resilience of kids will never cease to amaze me. Perhaps I could learn a little something from their reactions.