I'm generally not the superstitious type but after our recent trip and the various traumas we encountered, I'm reconsidering. Perhaps we were jinxed. I'll tell my tale and let you decide.
My absolute dearest friend and her family moved out of state a couple years back and both our families make the trip for visits as often as possible. And so, this past weekend we made our annual summer trip . . . The "events" in order, are as follows:
1. Wild fire that leaped the freeway, closing it in both directions. This resulted in an understandable delay followed by . . .
2. A major semi-truck accident where the truck and two trailers had flipped, spilling cargo all over the road. Likely, the truck was caught off guard when he encountered the slowed/stopped traffic ahead and took a header off the road rather than run over them. We saw rescue workers performing CPR. I was driving and commanded my husband to "distract the children." He was so successful that I'm not even sure they noticed the chaos at the side of the road. We finally arrived at our destination around 2:30am local time.
3. My son who at age 5 years has not yet learned how to swim jumped into the pool without his lifejacket necessitating this freaked out mama jumping in after (fully clothed) to pull him out. He had gotten out of the water to use the bathroom and in his excitement, forgot to put his lifejacket back on. There was lots of yelling (mine -- some swearing and general terror) and crying (both of ours) but then he was back in the water. (Interesting side note: I always wondered what I'd say when I thought I saw death peering at me. Apparently it's "God damn it!" -- repeatedly and VERY loud. Shame on me).
4. Our friends' garage door was bent and rendered unusable as we backed out of the drive to take the families to the water park.
5. While waiting for the daddies to figure out how to close the door so we could leave, tweaked my back, making carrying children rather uncomfortable for the rest of the day.
6. Finally, and here's the big one, at the water park, my 2 year old had an apparent seizure. Another freak out moment for this mama. We had our first ride in an ambulance and after several hours and blood tests, CT scans and urinalysis, we got the good news that nothing appeared wrong and that likely she had experienced a seizure. I don't know about you, that still feels really scary! Fortunately, shortly after arriving at the hospital, she perked up and by the time we left, it was hard to believe anything had been wrong. Except for the poor blown up veins in her hands and arms. This time, no swearing and shouting (score one point, mama!).
I suppose like all mamas, I have a real dread of any harm coming to my children. They are so vulnerable and the forces that could align to do them injury so numerous -- illness, random accidents, deliberate acts, etc. After my son was born, I remember watching the news/TV in general in tears because every story seemed to highlight the many ways that children could be lost or hurt in our world. And there was this sense that all children, in some mysterious way, were now mine to worry and care about. As if caring about the child taken from its parents across the country or the families lost in various natural disasters represented the vulnerability not just of all life but of my children's specifically. Does this make any sense? So this weekend was a triple punch to my sense of mortality and the fragility of my still very young children.
I am a very careful mom, neurotic, really. My children rarely leave my sight when I'm home with them and my house is about as baby proof as it's possible to be and yet -- and yet my son would have/could have drowned and there was nothing I could do to predict or prevent my daughter's strange episode. It's enough to drive you crazy! This helplessness . . .
Despite the traumas, the trip was still a success. What I had most looked forward to was time to talk with my friend, Dannie. And somehow we managed some quality heart-to-hearts in the midst of childcare, meal prep and general mayhem of 5 excitable, sun-weary children. I had gone to the hospital in the ambulance with my daughter, alone. And next to my husband, there is no one I would have rather seen walk into the exam room then Dannie. The doctor asked if we were sisters and commented on the similarities she saw in our expression which is funny as in many ways, we are physical opposites of each other but our hearts are quite similar. Ending a visit with her and her family is always hard, with promises of another visit soon.
Jinxed? I don't know but my friend Dannie says that perhaps we were lucky, in an odd way. That if these things were to happen, they happened where we knew we could count on the love and support of our friends. The pic in this post is of a figurine by Willow Tree that Dannie gave to me. It sits on shelf in my kitchen, where I am reminded of our friendship often.
I'm off to take my tiny tot to the doc to discuss whether more tests are needed. Think happy and safe and healthy thoughts for her!