There was no time to respond because a line of cars waiting at the red light blocked both Andrew and the other driver's view until she pulled out into us. The airbags deployed and it took a moment for my mind to catch up to what happened.
I'm not gonna lie, I totally freaked out for a second. Andrew was laughing later because he said I went into Mom-mode, yelling at him, "Are you OK? Are you OK? Are you OK?" Of course, I wouldn't have had to repeat myself so much if he had just answered yes, instead of sitting there dazed and confused like he had just been in a car accident. Then I turned and started saying "Are you OK? Are you OK? Are you OK?" to Judah, but my rational brain started catching up and I realized there was no way for a three-year-old who was screaming his terrified little heart out to answer that question. I thought, he's going to respond to you freaking out, so calm down. I went for a more reassuring "You're OK! You're OK! You're OK!"
After my very effective assessment of every one's wellness I thought, you're not supposed to stay in the car if you're in the middle of the street or someone else might hit you, so I swung around and hit the hazards. I looked for my phone to call the police, but couldn't find it. Then I remembered a news story where they warned about any free objects in your car becoming projectiles in an accident and how your phone might fly out of your reach if you need to call 911. If only I had listened to that news story, I thought. But, Andrew had become mobile by this time and was assessing the damage. The other driver had already gotten on her phone with the police, so I jumped out to grab my screaming child and head for the sidewalk. Unfortunately, he had been swimming and we forgot a dry shirt so there I was standing with my half-naked balling child on the side of the road. As I tried to calm him, the 30 cars stopped at the light were now driving past us, and all I could think was that they were thinking I was a bad Mom because I couldn't even put my child in a shirt!
All of that happened in a surprisingly short amount of time, and given a few minutes we were all able to calm our nerves and find the shirtless boy a zip-up hoodie in the van, that I had gratefully been too lazy to clean out before. The adrenaline started wearing off and the body aches started setting in, but we were praising God that no one was seriously injured.
Fellow staff came to wait with us while the officer filed a report and the tow-truck towed our van away. They then dropped us, a little worse for wear, at home, where we lay most of the rest of the day in adrenaline exhaustion. It seems so cliche to say, but the rest of the night I just kept thinking about how quickly bad things can happen and how grateful I was that it was just the van that may not make it.
The other driver was very shaken and apologetic and we had talked a little as we waited for everything to get straightened out. As we parted ways she apologized again and laughing ironically said, "Well, welcome to Wichita!"
Welcome indeed. And, note to self...always dress your family in clothes you won't be ashamed to be stranded on the side of the road in.