Our recent car incident would be the hardest topic that I will ever share with everyone. The thought of something terrible might happen to the people we care about is already painful to bare let alone when you experience that fear happening right before your eyes.
My three-year-old and I went to Baguio with my daughter’s Dad’s side of the family to celebrate her grandma’s birthday. I always look forward to opportunities like this because it’s a chance for us to get to know my daughter’s relatives. Although I had so many things that I needed to work on, my three websites, my freelancing home-based business, and a list of house chores I decided to pack a weekender bag with hopes of giving everyone a chance to spend time with my sassy little girl. And I was glad because everything went by smoothly. We celebrated her grandma’s birthday at an Italian restaurant, Amare and had a half-day stroll in the city centre, riding horses and picking strawberries. Everything was fine until that traumatic rainy afternoon incident happened.
It was starting to get cloudy after our late lunch at Bistro, so we decided to head home. At around 4:00 pm, we left Baguio last weekend, June 2, 2019. It wasn’t long until the rain started pouring. Because of low visibility, my ate was driving cautiously along Naguilian Hi-way. Our travel time was longer, but I was at ease knowing we were cautious on a steep and zig zag Naguilian Hi-way. I was looking straight to the road trying to keep a watchful eye since I know it was raining hard that afternoon. There were lots of sharp curves and zigzag paths in Naguilian hi-way. And the fog didn’t make the drive pleasurable so every turn we had our eyes glued on the road. We were driving for more or less 30 minutes on the way when the scariest incident happened right before my eyes.
Watch a video clip of a Ford Everest driving towards our vehicle.
Our Tita was filming with her iPhone when we were driving, and I was thankful for her because she captured everything on the video. It’s a 3-minute long video. You’ll see there that it was heavily raining and foggy. You could also have a sense of how slow we were driving because of low visibility.
It was difficult to watch the clip, but it helped me realise how lucky we were for not getting any physical injury. But since I am a mother, I had to make sure of some things like my daughter’s well-being and mine after the crash and my next steps to protecting my daughter from reckless people. While it’s impossible to safeguard her against harm, there are ways to teach her how to deal with traumatic situations like this.
Keeping things light while having a heavy heart
At three, my daughter is curious, so, I try to explain situations in a light and most straightforward way possible. She would have so many questions as to why we weren’t home, why we were on the road and why our “Golden Toothless” wasn’t feeling well. She gave our car a name because she understands the value it brings to us. Golden Toothless take us to places. From our night strolls to our mini field trips, our car gave us comfort in every mom-daughter road trips. I guess this is why I was so emotional that our mobility was affected. It means we won’t be driving for a while, which was crucial because we have less than two weeks before school starts. We will have to stay home most of the time, and because I am a content creator, my work will be affected as well.
The car incident brought my vulnerabilities as a mother. I was unprepared to situations like this. The moment the driver of the Ford Everest hit us, my reaction was to chase the car because, with that speed, I thought it was a hit and run. I know it was wrong, but my purpose was to get answers as to why a person would do such actions on a dangerous road with weather like that. I remember saying: “I have my daughter with me! She just three years old! Why would you overtake on a sharp curve?”, but she kept silent, stared at me without saying a word. I saw that she has about four passengers with her. So, I don’t understand why she would be so reckless on the road. I was crying and shaking the whole time. It was cold and raining, but all the driver did was to sit in her car with her flat tire still smoking from the collision.
Everything magnified 100% because I have a daughter
Contrary to what my companions thought, vehicular incidents like this isn’t new to me. At a very young age, I’ve had several traumatic experiences involving car accidents. The one with my cousin drove straight to a wall, the one with my father got hit by a running kid on the day of my birthday, another involving my cousin and some guys who slapped her straight on the face when she refused to feel threatened. But none of it compares to the trauma when it involves your young daughter.
Solving one problem at a time without overthinking
When I became a mom, I vowed to parent through modelling. It means I won’t force my daughter to do something that I won’t be able to accomplish first or do things that will set as an excellent example to her. It’s challenging for me as I didn’t have a strong matriarchal influence in life. So, when it was finally my turn to become a parent, I made sure to find my core values and practice it with her. In this experience, responsibility and accountability would be my highlight. While we were having a meeting with the driver’s parents, I understood how her parents were there to apologise and defend their kid no matter what. It’s shameful because their daughter who happens to be a physician was already 29 years old and yet she didn’t have the same guts (when she drove recklessly) to speak up and own up to her mistakes. She sat quietly like an innocent person who was there for the sake of being there but never apologised when she had a chance to do so until I said I never felt she was sorry for everything.
As a parent to a little girl, should I let this behaviour pass because we weren’t physically harmed in the car crash? What lesson am I imparting with my daughter? And when do we exactly seek justice? When it’s all too late?
I think the answers are obvious.