Monday, April 30, 2012

The perils of parenthood

So, last night was the night that all parents fear, the "call" that comes after your child was involved in a serious auto wreck.  Thankfully, my son has lived, will mend from the injuries, and live to enjoy another day.

It was a strange sort of day, since I had a premonition about this accident, I just did, as did my daughter.  We were talking about it over lunch yesterday, that she just had a dream about Anthony having a car accident, and that frightened me, because I had a similar dream a few nights before.  For the rest of the day, this growing kernel of fear took root inside of me, and I paced all day in the yard like a caged animal, praying I was just being a paranoid and superstitious mother.  I prayed and prayed while I was pacing and contemplating, praying that if it was to be, to see him safely through it.  If anyone was to go, please take me away and not him.  I couldn't bear the loss of any child, just like any other parent fears.  I had myself worked up into a state at this point, that when he left to go to work, I was feeling helpless, but didn't want to show my fear and for him to think I had come unhinged or something.  I just mustered a cheery, "Have a nice night at work!"  and then added, "Please call me when you get there."  He just looked at me with exasperation and laughed, and then drove away.

I know it only takes an average of 15 minutes to get to work, and I bit my nails for 30, and then sent him a text message.  When he sent me one back, I felt a degree of relief, but still not totally settled, so I decided to meet with some old friends for coffee and settle these silly jitters.  I had an enjoyable evening, and as I drove home, I knew Anthony would be arriving around the same time as I would, approximately 9:20 p.m, since his shift let out at 9:00 p.m.  My daughter called and asked if I could pick up a soda for her at the store, and added, "And pick up a Monster for Anthony" which is his craving lately, and that immediately put my fears to rest, since I assumed he was home, which is why she asked me to get him a drink as well.

I pulled in later than intended after stopping for gas and their drinks, at around 9:35 pm.  As I walked up the drive into the house, I notice Anthony's car wasn't there, and a creeping sense of panic began to build inside of me.  I walked into a dark house, plopped their drinks on the counter, and immediate began calling for everyone, with no answer.  Noelle came out of my office, looking puzzled, asking, "What's up Mom?"  I asked her urgently, "Where is Anthony?"  She said quite innocently, "I don't know.  At work?"  I knew something was wrong immediately.  It was as if an alarm began to ring inside my body.  I began to panic as I fumbled around looking for my cellphone and keys, because I was going to go look for him.

Mark tried to calm me, saying he probably just stopped for gas also, or maybe at a store, but I knew different.  On my second phone attempt to reach him on the way out the door, I did.  The EMT.  Anthony has been in a car accident.  He's hurt and on his way to the hospital.  He's conscious though, so that's a good thing.  He's got some head and facial injuries, a lot of lacerations, possible broken shoulder, possible broken leg, etc.  I listened to this, with the sirens blaring in the background, and then, finally Anthony's sad and shaky voice, and I just about died from the relief of hearing him talk to me.

We got to the scene of the accident involuntarily.  The quickest route to the hospital is the quickest route home for Anthony as well, and as we pulled up, the road was closed off as several fire trucks, police officers and other rescuers were on the scene cleaning it up.  I ran up, not knowing if there were other victims involved, but it was only Anthony's car.  He had went down a 20 foot embankment off the road, swerving to miss a dog or similar animal (he said it was brown like a dog, but not a deer), and lost control and plunged off the road into a ravine where a creek runs through.  I looked at the car and the damage, and just was amazed he had survived, all glass smashed, twisted and destroyed car...horrifying.

When I got to the hospital, they wanted to "clean him up" a little before I saw him, code for, stitch up his face.  25 Large stitches.  No plastic surgeon on hand, but, he's a guy, so Isaac was joking now they can call him "Tony Montana."  He found it amusing, so we were able to have a few laughs to lighten the mood.

Arrived home with him, battered, drugged, and sore, at around 1:25 a.m., after all x-rays came back negative, some spine straightening which means whiplash, and an MRI followup for his shoulder since he can barely move it (they think possible rotator cuff), a tetanus shot for all of the various cuts all over his arms, low dose aspirin for the large hematomas he has on his legs, but, he's alive and that's all else will get fixed with time.

So, God had a plan, and Anthony's angels were working overtime last night.  We don't know why things happen the way the do, and what's coming around each bend, for real. Each of our fate is completely out of our own hands. Another boy went home to Heaven last night in a car accident in another part of town.  Anthony knew him too, and this was very shocking to hear this as he was laying on the gurney waiting to go for more x-rays.  We never know when our time will come, and this poor boy's family went home devastated for their loss, and for that, my heart breaks for them. I cry to even write it, knowing what awful, unquenchable grief will come now.  I pray for them and will keep praying for them.

Every day with your people is a gift.  I had a really good reminder of that.  I hope no one else has to have that reminder.  Give them all a good, long hug today.

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