My Mom’s Response to My 1st Car Accident

My Mom’s Response to My 1st Car Accident

My first and only car accident took place the day after I got my license. I was 16 and my sister, Miriam, was 10. I was driving us to school for the first time, and I had to merge into the fast-moving traffic approaching the Smith Ave. bridge.

I remember being side-swiped. I remember parking along the side of the road. But I don’t remember anything about the other driver. I don’t remember my sister being in the car, but she must have been. I don’t remember what damage there was to the car–was there a scratch along the side of the car? Did the mirror get knocked in, or broken off? I don’t remember what I told my friends when I got to school, or if I told them at all.

In fact, the only thing I clearly remember about the accident is my mother. She had been approaching the Smith Avenue bridge on her way to work when she saw us.

My mother parked her car behind mine and approached me, keys dangling in her hand, looking about as shaken as I’ve ever seen her. Were there even tears in her eyes?

I’m sure seeing us there triggered memories of the nightmare that came to life when a car accident killed her parents and grandmother when she was 25. Only now that I am a mother can I appreciate the strength bordering on heroism that it must have taken for my mother, after making sure that we were OK, to get back into her car, and drive away, letting me drive me and my sister the rest of the way to school that morning, and every morning after that.

When my big girls were little, my husband and I made the decisions more or less. You will attend this school. You may go to that friend’s house for the afternoon. You may not go out to play, it’s already late and you need to get ready for bed.

And now, being the mother of big girls becoming young women requires a different muscle. The muscle my mother used on the Smith Avenue bridge that scary morning, which, after years of holding on, enables me to swallow hard, pray, and let go.


  1. Jenny,
    Reading your story brings back memories. I was going to get my drivers license. I pulled into the parking lot of the DMV and I pulled into the parking space, and accidentally rear ended a pick up truck parked in front of me. I had gotten the gas and break pedal mixed up. I was absolutely mortified! My husband exchanged insurance information with the owner of the red pick up truck. Meanwhile, being 9 months pregnant at the time, I knew I might not get another chance for awhile to take my test, after the baby was born. So I went in, took the written test, then drivers test. I got a 90%. Two weeks later, I gave birth to our baby boy.
    Today, I am teaching my 17 year old baby boy how to drive and he loves hearing this story😀


  2. Amazing that you were able to get back in the car and drive.. Awesome that your mom could trust you and Hashem to drive yourself and sister as a new driver. We know if we did our job as parents if our kids can leave the nest and make their own way. Nachas 🤩

  3. Totally grappling with the issue of letting go. My kids are becoming big and I know I need to be shifting to allow them more independence but it’s so hard. Looking at it like strengthening a new muscle, as you wrote, is really helpful, thank you.

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