top of page

Pick-Up Trucks: Not a Boy's Best Friend

It was July 2010 and we were leaving my Grammie’s 75th birthday party. Everyone was filled with love and laughter. Our whole family stopped by the house and kept the party going. After some last-minute cake eating, we all said our goodbyes. I took my youngest baby boy's hand, and we headed across the street to the car. My oldest baby and fiancé were right behind us. That’s when a mother’s worst nightmare happened.

Screech – Boom – Crying.

These were the next sounds I heard. I looked up to see my son's little 5-year-old body flying to the curb and my fiancé running down the street. At that moment I froze. I could not believe what had just happened. My mind was telling me to move but my body stood still. I could hear the sounds of my family members running across the street and screaming. Finally, words flooded out of my mouth as I screamed for my cousin to get my 2-year-old in the car and for someone to call 911 (not knowing all of that had already happened as I was standing still).

Hearing my baby screaming with blood all over his body sent me into a panic attack. My mind was scared that he was about to die. Where is my fiancé? My whole family was watching from the porch right across the street. Did the driver just try to keep driving? What just happened. I heard someone yell, “Get DeAndre,” aka, my fiancé had run after the pick-up truck who was attempting to flee the scene. The whole neighborhood was now outside helping to make sure the driver did not leave. Moments later, the fire department and paramedics arrived along with the police. My fiancé rode in the ambulance and my cousin jumped in the front seat of my car to drive me to the hospital. If you ever drove on the 110 freeway in Los Angeles, you know it’s always crowded. Not sure how, but my cousin beat the ambulance to the hospital. Once we arrived at the emergency room, I ran out to meet the ambulance. My cousin stayed back with my 2-year-old son. When they opened the door to the ambulance, I saw my son laying on the stretcher with a C-Collar on and my heart stopped. We pushed through the doors into a room full of nurses and doctors waiting to treat my son. They started cutting his clothes to assess his injuries and clean up the blood. All I remember is my son jumping up in the middle of the ER and yelling, “Don’t cut my spiderman underwear!” They took us out of the room and began to ask questions…” What happened? Where were you? Did the driver stop?” I tried to answer, but my only concern was my child. The ER door opened, and they said they were headed to get an MRI & CT scan and after that, we could join them. As we walked through the halls of the hospital, we walked past a room FULL of our family. It was as if my son was a little celebrity. My whole family left the house immediately after the ambulance and met us at the hospital with support.

A few hours later, my son was admitted for observations. It was cold in that cramped Pediatric wing. I was still in my party dress and in need of a change of clothes. They would only allow one parent to stay overnight with him which totally sucked. I knew my fiancé wanted to stay but there was no way I was leaving his side. He kissed our son goodbye and then left to stay the night at his friend’s house down the street. I hated the bed they had him in. He was right next to the bathroom which meant we were bothered by it all night long. The only saving grace…if you could call it that: I couldn’t sleep anyway because every time my son tried to go to sleep, he would wake up screaming, “The pick-up truck is going to hit me again!” I did not move from my chair the entire night. I just sat there crying all night long, blaming myself and trying to understand how this happened. I just looked at him with his cuts, bruises and swollen lips and wondered…why him and not me? “I am a bad mom for letting this happen,” is what played in my head all night.

Different nurses came by to check on him and asked me what happened. I was finally starting to get annoyed with that question. I don’t know how this happened; it just did. I finally closed my eyes for what seemed like forever…but ended up only being 20 minutes. When I opened them again, it was the next morning, and I had a few missed calls. My fiancé was on his way back to the hospital to be with us. I needed to check in with work to tell them I would not be coming in that day. I remember when I called, they were upset that I was calling out after my scheduled time but quickly changed tones when I said where I was. We had to meet with so many doctors in order to be cleared to go home. They finally took off the C-Collar and told us his scans came back clear – no internal bleeding or broken bones. Thank GOD! However, they suggested that we seek therapy for him and our family in the weeks to come because the healing journey would take some time.

Walking through parking lots was one of the hardest things for my son after the accident. He would see a pick-up truck and would not move until it passed us. He would give you the death grip on your hand if he had to cross the street, or even just the parking lot. The nightmares were the worst. He would wake up screaming in a full sweat, talking about the pick-up truck hitting him. I could not sleep because I was always watching him. He also made us get rid of all his toy trucks that looked like a pick-up truck. Once we were able to get him into therapy, I noticed a shift in his behavior. He was finding ways to talk about the accident in his own way. Today, he is 18 and off to college. You can still see the scar on his forehead from the accident. Sometimes I look at it and want to cry – not because I am sad but because I am grateful, he is still here. That accident could have ended differently. A few years back we were cleaning and came across the little suit he was wearing that day. It still had the tire marks on it. I told my mom to throw them away. To get rid of that awful memory.

Thinking back on that day I wish all the professionals that were involved with his case would have just read the file instead of constantly asking us, “what happened?” Having to repeat the events over and over and over again felt like I was being forced to relive that moment over and over and over again. I also think back on that day, and it reminds me that it only takes one second for something to happen, so I try to stay aware of my surroundings at all times. After the accident, I always made sure to hold my boys' hands and not let go until we were clear and out of the street. But I did finally stop blaming myself (years later).

30 views0 comments
bottom of page