Monday, May 28, 2007
Hollow gut and sweaty palms.
I was driving to work this morning when the radio traffic reporter announced “A serious five car pile up on highway 91 near number 4 road in Richmond has traffic backed up for miles. Try highway 10 or Marine drive…”
I immediately thought “Oh my God!”. My son took that route to work this morning, and he was not very familiar with the highway and its exits. I got that involuntary stab of fear that hits parents at the thought their child could be in danger.
My rational brain fought with my mom brain:
Rational Brain: “It is 8:30 now, and he left the house at 6:30. He must have driven by that spot long before the accident.”
Mom Brain: “ But if it was a serious accident, it could still be tying up traffic two hours later.”
RB: “He would have called from his cell phone if he was in trouble.”
MB: “Not if he is unconscious, …or worse.”
RB: “His old ’91 Ford Escort can’t even go very fast.”
MB: “If a speeding semi trailer, or drunk driver hit him it doesn’t matter.”
And so it went for a few minutes, until I heard that the accident was in the other direction than his. I breathed again.
I worry about the health and safety of my other loved ones, of course. When my mom had heart surgery, I was tense and anxious. When my sister e-mails or texts me that they are in a big storm (she sails for a living) I am apprehensive. When my husband opened his chin playing hockey and had to have stitches I was concerned. (Actually annoyed too, because he had not bothered to do up the chin strap on his face guard. Men. He now has a manly scar like Harrison Ford, whereas a scar on my chin would simply be unsightly.) And I worry about him driving across the accident plagued Patullo Bridge every day.
But nothing is the same as the blood draining, visceral fear that strikes when something happens, or could happen to endanger my child. Like the day a few years ago when I got a phone call from the ski patrol at Grouse Mountain, that started, “Your son has had a snowboarding accident.” My knees started to buckle and I felt faint for a few seconds, thinking “head injury?” "broken neck?" until the patroller added, “He may have broken his wrist”.
I wonder if this lasts forever?
Todays dream travel destination: Grouse Mountain, which is a lovely local ski area, despite my son breaking his wrist there.