Sometimes you get a call from your son at 6:03 am and you hear the beep of an open car door but no voice on the other end. You yell into the receiver and hear nothing, then the line goes dead. Panic rises in your throat, but you hope like crazy that he pocket-dialed you getting out of the car for seminary. You keep breathing.
But then sometimes another call comes at 6:04 and you hear the shaking voice of your boy say "Mom, I crashed the car." And you tell him you'll be right there. Adrenaline rushes into your bloodstream and you go into a kind of hyper-focused mode that compartmentalizes all other possibilities to the back parts of your brain.
You put on shoes and a sweater and remember your wallet and phone. You get in the car to drive away and realize it's completely coated in ice so you have to get out and take another 5 minutes to find some clear glass. You can't stand it after about a square foot of the front windshield is done and you toss the scraper in the car and go. As you drive away you plead for the Lord to clear your path so you can just get to your boy.
He calls again and says he's fine, but the adrenaline reaction is fully in play, so you keep racing down the hill and look everywhere for him among all the headlights you see. Finally you spot his tiny car, up against a guard rail and dug into the snow and mud. He's turned around and on the opposite side of the road that he was originally travelling.
He comes to you and you hold him in your arms and the compartmentalization fails slightly so you hope you're coming across as strong and calm for his sake, in spite of the now-jellied state of your heart and mind. He's shaken and miserable, but whole and healthy.
He really is. Totally uninjured. No air bags deployed, no serious damage to the car, just a terrifying loss of control, then a 360 across all lanes of of the road on a dark, icy morning. I actually know how that feels. Thanks to the early hour, there was no traffic and he did not hit anyone else. The car has little more than the plastic version of bumps and bruises. Thanks to my husband joining AAA last fall, the tow truck was there in minutes and popped the car out of it's muddy hole. Thanks be to God, as the darling driver reminded me with reverent awe, my son is okay.
We drove home and said a tearful prayer of gratitude together.
It's a minor thing, and will have few residual effects, but the mind is stubborn, at least for these few hours of aftermath. We are both reliving it now; he in his actual memory, I in my imagination. All those thoughts of what could have been are enough to sap my energy and keep me in a state of strange distraction. This has happened before with other kids and with my husband, and the feelings have been just as intense each time.
I'm shaky and weepy and can't think straight, but I have stuff to do, so I am writing this down and letting it go so I can get on with the rest of the day and continue to be strong and calm when he gets home.
Then I have to help him get back on the horse, so to speak. I can't let my shaky nerves or his hold him back-he needs to drive again as soon as possible and know that he's capable of moving past this.
Worse things can and probably will happen, but not to us and not on this day, so I will end with another whispered thank you to the heavens.