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I am not the mom under discussion, but could easily be. The first call I received like this was “Um, Sam flipped his truck so it looks like I won’t be making the 5:15 ferry.” Which is when I established the rule that all future calls were to begin with, “We’re okay, but . . .” even if you aren’t all okay.

After establishing that neither you nor your friend who crashed the car he was driving – at the posted speed limit and with all due caution, of course – were injured, you start answering more questions after you’ve answered the first question, What happened?, with as much detail as you deem necessary, and you consider “We’re fine” detail enough.

He was just driving around the corner and the car slipped on the wet leaves.* One of the EMTs said—

EMT?! Someone called an ambulance? Who called an ambulance?! Why did you need an ambulance?!

Probably one of the neighbors got worried and called 911 when they saw us go over the bank—

You went over the bank?! How far did you go?!

Well, until we hit the tree.

A tree?! You hit a tree?!

It’s always good to get out of the way the first crash common among many newly licensed drivers. Until you realize that your son still has a first crash as a driver to get through.

*Or “the sun got in my eyes” or “my foot slipped off the brake pedal on to the gas pedal” or “a dog ran in front of me” or “Locusts! It was locusts!”