So, on the way to Taekwondo last night I was rear-ended AND pushed into the car in front of me (the photo is a dramatic representation). I actually didn't think to take a pic of my vehicle). And I don't drive a Lotus or whatever that red thing was.
Note to self: phone = camera = pictures. Any questions?
My boys were in the back. Thank God they're fine. The Colorado Springs PD and Fire and EMS were top-drawer. My kids were in awe. Watching the tow truck load my vehicle was the highlight of Andrew's day. Caleb wants to be a fireman. Nate couldn't stop smiling. The boys asked for souvenirs - hub caps and busted tail lights come cheap...er...sort of. We practiced our "thank you, sirs/ma'ams" and handshakes and praised our first responders for a job well done.
No serious injuries to the other drivers either. Some soft tissue stuff by the looks of it...but nothing major.
Damage to my car: high single digits.
Damage to my person: I have a sprained thumb and wrist, and strained muscles in my left arm and neck/shoulder. Ibuprofen for 3-5 and NO sparring. Well, bummer, I like to hit people and padded bags so that's no good.
As for the fool who cut into our lane several car lengths ahead of all involved, as we were slowing at the light, and then slammed on the breaks, leaving skid marks, causing the entire three-car accident, next time, DON'T.
To the young woman who hit me, remember to go easy on yourself. Thank you for thinking of my sons first. We had a nice chat. Hugged. I met her husband who's in the Air Force. Sweet couple. Quality people all around. The eye contact and unqualified apology went light years. Grace exists for reasons. I've been given more than I deserve in this life. You have mine too.
To the other young lady who went to the hospital in a neck brace (probably just precautionary), you're in my prayers, ma'am.
A few parting thoughts:
That said, I'm naming today "Hug My Kid's Day." And tomorrow and the next day too.
I am raising three men.
Caleb, Nathaniel, and Andrew are five, eight, and nine respectively.
"But," you might say, "They are only boys." You're right and wrong.
They are boys. At some future point they will become men. They are men-in-training, a fact I must never forget. The eighteenth birthday does not a man make. Nor does sixteen or twenty-one. Boys become men like a pile of steel becomes a soaring skyscraper. They are constructed from the ground up. External constraints form the foundation. The externals become internalized over time through ongoing reinforcement. In other words, I repeat myself a lot. As values harden they become load-bearing. Trials test character. Unrefined ore becomes steel. Weakness becomes strength. My role is that of architect, engineer, and foreman all in one. Therefore, I am building men.
Today's lesson: On Hitting.
Andrew: "He was hitting me."
Me: "Yes, I know. Did you need to hit back?"
Note: Andrew is a nine, almost ten-year-old junior black belt in Taekwondo. Andrew knows how to hit, hard. For the record, he chose not to hit back and instead came and told me about it. Did he want to hit back? Absolutely, and I don't blame him for feeling that way. Part of being male involves managing hardwired aggression. Men are naturally aggressive. We're designed that way for a reason. We don't need to apologize for it. But, we do need to own it and use our strength for good.
Back to Andrew...
Andrew: "I have the right to defend myself."
Me: "Yes, you do. But, you have to learn when to hit back and when not to. Were you really in danger? Was he really trying to hurt you?"
Me: "That's right. He wasn't. If your life is ever in danger you have my permission to use your skills. Daddy will back you to the hilt. But, I pray that day never comes. Don't hit back unless you absolutely have to. I'm proud of you for not striking back."
And the moral of today's lesson?
Me: “We use this first.” (finger taps the brow) Andrew, looking grave, nods. "Yes, daddy."
Me: “We us this last.” (fist comes to eye level, ready and hopefully always waiting) I smile big. Then Andrew smiles. I smile bigger and open my arms. We hug and the balance returns to the force and all is well.