on car accidents

Because when life already feels too full of to do lists with too little time something else urgent always comes up, I was rear ended on Monday evening. Headed back across part of eastern Washington from my parents and sister’s to my in-laws where I’d left my husband on a quick sprint to soak up nephew and niece snuggles and time with my sister and parents. I’m once again walking away a bit sore and bruised, but fine and this time the car is even repairable. It feels like less of a traumatic and emotional experience this round. Partially because this is the 8th or 9th time I’ve been hit in the past 12 years. Partially because I’m less attached to this car even though it’s new.

Really, I would have happily driven my last one until it fell apart. At 12 years old, it was my first new car I’d purchased and the first I’d shopped for and negotiated for on my own. I angst-ed immensely over purchasing new, but never regretted it. 12 years in when it was hit for it’s 7 (8?)th and final time it was still in great shape at 284,000 miles and had kept me safe through all of those blunders on the part of other drivers. 12 years of adventures, lots of work miles and commuting miles, angry miles, sad and happy miles. Miles driven to visit family and friends, camping and into Canada and California and miles spent dating (and dating again J) my now husband and then many adventures throughout our first year of marriage. All that to say I loved that little car and letting it be towed away after someone else slammed into me at a stop sign deploying my airbags and leaving me with a good number of welts (airbags are vicious!) felt a good bit like losing an old friend.

I like this car, but we’re still growing on each other and I think letting the last car go provided it’s own set of healthy lessons about holding onto things a bit more lightly. Renting out the house I bought several years ago has also been a good lesson along those lines as well, but that’s a whole other story.

And so. Added on to the list of packing and sorting and all the logistics that go into leaving the country for two months and ensuring we’re both ready to work and travel throughout that time period is now lots of post car accident items. But it really does feel mostly manageable. The upside of so many accidents is I have a repair shop I love that’s flexing to work with our travel schedule and quick to assist. And a dad who dropped the rest of his work day to come hang out with me and translate between the other driver and I and the officer and then eat dinner and drink a beer with me and offer lots of hugs. And a father in law that was quick to mangle together the taillight for the drive home and offered to come pick up the car and get it to storage even though he’s a state a way.

So I’m thankful. Car accidents and I have a rough history. I could write easily of the several I’ve been in, of a minor (thankfully) one I caused at 17 and of the near world collapsing grief a couple other caused me in the midst of my teen years. Of how the one this week was within feet of one that claimed a friend many years ago. Of how I’ve avoided that intersection for 19 years until this ill fated attempt to turn there.

But instead, today, this isn’t a sad story, but a thankful one. I’m grateful to have once again walked away virtually unscathed. For family and friends who jump to help and check in and for an amazing husband (who was on the phone* with me when it happened) who strikes a great and delicate balance between caring and letting me care for myself. Not an easy thing I know when one lives with me J.

*via Bluetooth!



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