Here I sit on Tuesday evening, relaxing in my lovely bedroom retreat while enjoying the soul-satisfying sound of young voices in the living room. With the Boy home, we’re getting accustomed all over again to having kids in the house at all hours – he’s the social one of our three. He and his next older sister are only a year apart, and since they were both heavily involved in choir and theater in high school, their circle of friends overlapped. What a joy to hear them back together again – not only sharing memories, but discussing where life has taken them since they parted. And I echo the thoughts of Hamilton and Burr as they sing about their children, “You’ll blow us all away.” (See, told you I was obsessed with the musical.)
Listening to them (but NOT listening in, mind you) I’m reminded of one of the significant events that took place during my little vacation from real life last week: The Boy was rear-ended in his 23-year-old Jeep Cherokee a few days before he came home from college. He handled it well, drove away unscathed, and is managing the insurance chaos (it was a three-car smash) on his own. In the excitement Middle’s graduation and Oldest coming home, I didn’t think much about the incident for a bit.
But then The Boy got home and gave us more details of the accident. Like the fact that the driver’s seat was bent forward in the wreck and had to be forcibly pushed back. And the fact that one body shop recommended totalling the Jeep as the safest option. And I started thinking.
And what I thought was, “WHAT THE HELL WERE WE THINKING?!”
Because he’s been driving that 23-year-old Jeep back and forth to college (a three-hour drive) and on various other road trips for three years. Without air bags or any other modern safety features.
How could this fact have escaped me all this time? How could I have gambled so freely with this child I love more than my own life?
In discussing the situation with The Husband, I recalled a family in our close high school community who lost their son in a car wreck a few weeks into our boy’s freshman year in college. How our hearts ached, watching them go through the unimaginable (a line from Hamilton that makes me sob every time).
The Husband pointed out that our young friend was actually driving a late-model car, with all the modern safety fixtures, when he died. In other words, there are no guarantees.
But once that fear had entered my mind, there was no letting it go. Now a large portion of our summer will be spent getting our son into a safer car for his last year of college.
No guarantees. But I will do all I can to push away the unimaginable.