My son was in a car wreck last month. He is okay–I find myself having to rush to say that for other people’s benefit as well as my own, as if each time I say the words they stop the nightmare from returning. The nightmare where I wake up sobbing from being told he isn’t okay at all, where the wreck is worse than it was.
Nothing really prepares you for the phone calls you inevitably receive as a mother. There are certain things that can be done, of course. We can buy auto insurance and we can purchase what we think are safe cars. We can do all the things that are within our control, but we can’t do anything about the sinking and fluttering feeling in our stomachs before the phone rings–that intuitive shadow that makes us shudder with a Knowing that something is about to happen and we can’t stop it.
(Sometimes I feel guilty for knowing and not being able to prevent anything, for not being able to do anything but wait for the phone call.)
The phone rang and my son’s voice echoed through Bell’s time and space, telling me there had been an accident. He was fine, he assured me, but I could tell he was scared. I sent his father up to the accident site. I stalked the hallways of our house until they were home, my footsteps echoing through memories of my son’s childhood when I could keep him safe.
I am proud of him. He became an adult that night, his voice so calm and sure of himself over the phone–three parts shock and one part experience. I admired his resilience and determination to not fall apart at the accident scene. I sent him to bed and fretted all night.
The wreck wasn’t of the car. It was the loss of his innocence. My heart breaks.