07 October 2013

Today is Just About Being Grateful

Yesterday. Full of shock and "what if's?". And reliving that moment. Oh, that moment. That horrifying moment that happens to every parent when they think, believe, worry, that the unthinkable has happened to one of their children. If you're like me ... with an over active imagination ... these mini moments of horror happen way more often than you ever thought possible. In most cases I'm able to keep my cool while I wait for confirmation that everything is fine, with a lot of self talk. But it was tougher this time.

Just around 1 pm Hubs and Spud went down to the bike room to grab Spud's bike. His friend's mom had called that morning to arrange a spontaneous bike ride day since the weather had turned out so beautiful. They met at the front of our building. Sunscreen. Check. Helmets. Check. Hubs sees them off as they walk down the block to the intersection where they will cross to get to the park.

I'm in our apartment when I hear a terrible crash outside. More alarming than I've ever heard from our apartment of 12 years. And followed by screams. And yes, I thought of Spud and our friends right away. As I'm rushing to look out on the deck I'm trying to figure out in my mind where the boys would be at that moment. Would they still be at the intersection? Or perhaps they are already at the park? I have no sense of how long it would take to get the bike from the bike room. Hubs came in the door, right then, with a smile ... "Did you hear the crash?" I asked. It happened when he was in the elevator. From the deck we hear people yelling. All traffic is stopped. People are sprinting to our corner with a frightening sense of urgency.

Hubs' height means he can lean over a bit more than me. He sees a black SUV on the sidewalk. The very sidewalk the boys would be waiting to cross the street. He says "I'll see you down there". He's gone. I can't find my keys. And then I do. "No. This is not real". I find my purse. "You tend to over react. Wait for the facts". I find my phone. Put the puppy in her pen. "Does my boy need me?". I lock the door behind me. And I see in my mind, my precious, crazy little red head crumpled on the sidewalk and I push it out of my mind again. "Where is the bleeping elevator!?" I feel panic. The doors open. I forget to hit "M" for a moment.

Walking through the lobby felt like slow motion. "Why is this taking so long?". There are the two bikes on the street corner. Potato chipped wheels and bent frames. Unnaturally stacked on top of each other which provides no clues. No sign of the boys. "Breathe". Traffic is blocked by emergency vehicles already. Twenty or thirty people are milling around. I walk around the back of the SUV. And there is "R", Spud's buddy. Lying on his back. Mom by his side. Like a rock. Paramedics tending to him. He's conscious. "Where's my boy?". I see Hubs on the other side of the SUV. Standing there. With no expression. I go around the front and there is Spud walking towards me. With a bewildered smile. In one piece. Small bumps here and there but totally fine. "R" was soon taken to Children's Hospital to be thoroughly checked. Sent home later that night with the type of injuries that can heal over time. And we are filled with gratitude that it is only that.

And today we are filled with gratitude for those 15 or so people that rushed over to lift the SUV off our trapped little friend. And for the witness that memorized the license plate of the hit-and-run vehicle involved in the accident. And for the man who gave Spud a towel and helped me realize that my son needed to sit down. And the person who grabbed a chair from a nearby patio for him so he didn't have to sit on the sidewalk. And for our neighbour who told me that having "a small piece of bread helps in times of shock" and gave Spud a slice of warm soft bread from his nearby restaurant. It seemed to help. And for the emergency response people who dealt with the kids with tender and grace.

The rest of the day was an exercise of going back and forth between imagining the worst and being grateful that we still have our precious boys. Shaken, stirred, and little broken. But for the most part in one piece. And today is just about being grateful.

UPDATE: news story about the hit-and-run driver