Last week a dear friend of mine was in a truly catastrophic traffic accident. A dump truck, poorly parked on a hill above Hollywood Boulevard, came loose from whatever shitty brake mechanism was or wasn’t engaged, and hit a city bus at such high speed it knocked that bus across lanes and into, over, and through my friend’s car. This event was basically the traffic equivalent of Spacelab falling on you.
Spacelab fell on my friend.
The photos on the news were the scariest fucking thing I have ever seen. They were the scariest fucking thing every one of my friends, and her thousands and thousands of other friends, have seen. If you had seen those photos, you too would be stunned my friend survived.
My friend is Wonder Woman.
My friend, despite having ended up under a bus, is still with us, if in a hospital, in a bed, and in a lot of pieces. She is being put back together, slowly, and at the end of this, she is going to be Bionic Woman, too. It takes a lot of effort to put back together what a bus has torn apart, and a hell of a lot of strength, and spirit, and if anyone can do it, my friend can.
And in the meantime, led by the amazing example of her amazing husband, who daily updates her thousands of friends via incredible, warm, funny, honest, sincere, and loving emails, we focus on the miracles that have come out of this fucking mess.
Wonder Woman is still with us – that’s a miracle.
You wanna know the other miracle? Wonder Woman wasn’t the only one in the car.
You see, this truck that hit this bus that hit my friend did it while she was driving her daughter to school. And her daughter, who I believe is 10 years old, by some true miracle, emerged from the car unscathed. As I heard it, the door popped open, she stepped out, into traffic, and flagged down another driver to ask for a phone so she could call her dad.
I find this EXTRAORDINARY. She was safe, she was level-headed, and despite extraordinary pressure, despite being a KID, she did the exact right thing.
You know why she’s so amazing?
Because her mom is Wonder Woman.
And Wonder Woman’s entire parenting MO has been to teach her kids strength, compassion, resilience, and independence.
I know this because Wonder Woman is my go-to-gal for parenting advice. She was Diddy’s parent-and-me teacher, and Gaga’s, and when this all happened last week she was still teaching Pancake and Sausage, too. Much of what I think about parenting, and much of what I aspire to do as a parent, I think about and aspire to because SHE made me.
And I keep thinking, thank you, Wonder Woman, for even in this craziness, having a parenting lesson to teach me, that I can now share with the rest of you, since she’s a little bit indisposed right now:
TEACH YOUR KIDS YOUR PHONE NUMBERS. RIGHT NOW.
I say, YOUR phone numbers, and not THEIR phone numbers, because chances are you are more attached to your cell phones than to your kids’ home phones. So teach them your cell, your partner’s cell. Your work numbers.
Do it now – around the age of 4, your kids should be able to learn this info without too much trouble.
I am ashamed to say I am behind the ball on this – but I say we all commit to our kids knowing how to call us by Thanksgiving. So that, god forbid, if something awful happens, they can call us, we can make things right, we can all keep having things to be thankful for.
Here’s how I’ve been considering teaching my kids our numbers:
- By rote: the way I learned the first 15 digits of pi and can still recite them, the way British kids learn dynasties. Just practice saying those numbers, over and over.
- By song: setting the numbers to tunes, like the alphabet, and singing them, over and over.
- Or, the way one particularly brilliant pal of mine taught her kids their father’s cell phone number: by having them dial it every night and bedtime, so he could say goodnight. Her five year old now knows her dad’s number cold, and my friend is about to start the same thing with her three year old, too.
Any other ideas / tips for teaching small kids important phone numbers? I’d love to hear them.
And I’d be forever grateful if all of you would keep my dear, dear Wonder Woman in your thoughts. She is a truly special soul.