I’m Okay

In the end everything will be okay. But hurdles have to be jumped through first.Simone Elkeles

Life lesson number 8,462,313 states the following: Phone calls that start off with the person on the other end saying, “I’m okay” never mean the caller is actually okay.

A recent call from the offspring is a case in point.

I was working at a public service desk and – unusually – had my cell phone with me as I was setting up a group text chat for an advisory group I am on. When the anime theme song heralding a call from my child blasted through the air while I was assisting a patron, I swiped down to ignore the call as the one thing drilled into your head when you do any kind of customer service is the person in front of you comes first. As I was climbing the stairs a few moments later to get a piece of equipment, the song blared again. This time I answered it, skipping over “hello” and going right to telling him I was on desk and not particularly available to chat at that moment.

His response to this statement was “I’m okay,” although his voice had a particular hysterical note indicating this was not exactly true – see life lesson above – immediately followed by “I was in a car accident.”

Now, I don’t know about anyone else, but to me, these two statements are really not compatible. Not to mention, this exact phone call has been high on my list of ‘things to worry about’ once my son got his license several years back. And here it was slapping me in the face.


I tamped down the mom panic, handed the equipment and the patron off to a colleague, and announced to everyone I was leaving and why.

Half an hour later, I had my son in my car, paperwork from a towing company in my hand, and a whole lot of things I had not anticipated doing that day on my list of things to do that day.

We filed a claim, talked to an insurance adjuster, looked at what used cars were available in our area at a price we could afford (surprisingly more of them then you would think with pandemic supply issues in play), and took a very happy – if also very confused – doggie for a long walk to work off some of the stress. My fiance met us as we were finishing the walk, having come home early from work to make sure we were both all right, which was both sweet and appreciated.

Then, we got to go back to the towing yard to empty the car out as the insurance company moved faster than we had anticipated in getting the claim going. Trash bags in hand, we removed everything from the vehicle that we felt we needed – rugs, turnpike transponder, license plates, tools, blankets, etc. – and packed it up to take home.

It was a little sad participating in this process. This was my first ever (and probably only ever) new car. I researched it, test drove several until I was sure this was the one I wanted, and ordered it from the dealership as a) gas sipper cars were extremely hard to come by in 2009 with gas being over $4.00 per gallon, and b) I wanted a blue car. Because I like the color blue. She came off a boat from Japan and was driven to the dealership just for me. I loved that car and named her Squirrel as she was too small to have horsepower, so had squirrel power running her engine. Even though I haven’t driven her in nearly a year, I will miss her. Driving away from the towing yard was just a little hard knowing that I will probably not see her again and definitely not as she was in her glory. She served me well.

By the time we got home from this second outing, I was fried. We ordered takeout for dinner, and I went to bed early.

Now, remember that mom panic? The days following is where the aforementioned tamped down panic jumped back up again to make itself known. Because I need more reasons not to sleep well…

Although he is going to be twenty-one in a few weeks time, this accident involved my baby. The thought of anything happening to him completely freaks me out, and I find I have to spend a lot of time consciously not thinking about the accident and what could have happened.

And the panic isn’t just affecting me. I can tell he is still somewhat shaken as well. He is driving my car now to get to and from school, work, and his father’s house as he isn’t old enough to drive the lovely little rental the insurance company had provided me, and I get more regular updates as to where he is going and whether or not he has gotten there in one piece than usual. (Unintentional intelligence is a great thing; I hadn’t realized than I realized when I changed insurance companies, I got rental insurance on the policy, so we are not trying to juggle two cars between 3 people. Let’s hear it for unplanned forethought!)

To be clear, I am totally on board with these check-ins. They are, in fact, rather reassuring.

While we haven’t heard anything from the insurance company yet, we are guessing they are going to total the car. I am pretty sure it will cost about as much to fix it as it is worth given the damage that was sustained. In the meantime, it’s a waiting game. And it gives me time to continue attempting to sooth my somewhat shattered nerves.

For now though when anyone asks, I am okay.



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