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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

What brings a tear to your eye?


David at http://authorblog.blogspot.com/ posed this question at his site this week. I suppose the truth is a lot of things do, but perched at the utmost top of that list is the sad realisation that no matter how hard I might want to, I can't always guarantee my kids are safe. I try not to live in dread, wrap them in cotton wool. But in the darkest corner of my mothers heart there lies the cold stark fear that life is so very fragile. With last week came a prime illustration..

"It's okay mum, no one got hurt.."

"Huh?"

"Wilsie wrecked his car tonight."

My heart froze as my eldest, pale and shaken, attempted to give me what he hoped was a reassuring smile. I held him, hugged him tight. Ordinarily he'd duck, but this time he stayed, allowing my need to over-rule his discomfort, he allowed me to breath him in, as he gave me a brief account of what occurred.

It was dark and raining, they were rounding a bend in the road when Wilsie lost control of the car, it skidded, slammed into a stone wall and bounced back out into the middle of the road again. No one was speeding, there was no alcohol involved. As a matter of course the police always breathalyse the driver at any scene of an incident, Wilsie was clear. Having only passed his test a few weeks ago, it appears simple inexperience, nothing more, caused the accident.

Thank God they were both wearing seat belts.

Matt wasn't altogether unscathed, after a few days he finally fessed up to having a painful chest that wasn't getting better. An x-ray later proved he'd suffered a cracked rib, probably from where the seat belt had impacted against him. But aside from missing a few sessions at the gym, no lasting damage was done.

This time.

But that's the thing, isn't it? Matt turns seventeen shortly, ironically he passed his theory driving test on the same day he also had to give a police statement relating to the accident. He will begin taking his own driving lessons next week. I know he's a sensible lad, I also know it will afford not only him, but myself too, a whole lot more freedom to have an extra driver in our family. I know all of this, I do, I do..

Sigh.

I think the simple truth is I just have to purposefully let go of my fears, it may be my job to prepare him for life, but ultimately it is only his job and his alone, to get out there and to live it..

..hate the fact as I may.

54 comments:

CrazyCath said...

I so feel for you. I have been there and it is soooo hard. But they get through. We are not completely unscathed by the time they have got through, but are in one piece. To help I just recall (without telling him of course) just what I was like at 18, and I thank God, really I do, that he is more sensible in many ways, if more naive. I'm glad he is ok. Nasty experience for all of you.

On a lighter note, I came over to say
You're tagged! Pthththth!!

Shrinky said...

Oh cath, that's the whole trouble, my mis-spent youth is finally catching up with me - I KNOW what I got up to, and now I'm terrified!

Shrinky said...

Ooh, what was that about a tag??

Grin.

Merisi said...

I sympathize. One always hopes that experiences like this help them to better understand the dangers of the road. May they all stay out of troubles!


When my eldest got her driver's license, we adopted the same rule as parents of her friends had done before: No passengers in her car until we felt she had accumulated enough driving experience. If nothing else, it was a comfort to us, knowing she could concentrate on her driving.

Suldog said...

It's just one of those things you have to endure as a parent, right? I'm not one, so I've been spared that. But I know how many heartbreaks - or near misses - I've given my folks over the years.

May God bless you and give you strength when you need it :-)

pat houseworth said...

On a lighter note! Being the Macho type of guy I am, nothing could ever bring a tear to me eyes lass.

:(

quilly said...

I know it was scary and highlights your worst fears, but maybe this accident came at just the right time. As Matt ventures out and learns to drive, maybe his memory of the accident will help keep him cautious and alert. That is my prayer for both of you, and you know God can use all things for good.

Maalie said...

Scary. I'm glad there were no serious lasting consequences.

Shrinky said...

merisi, you are a genious! That is a sound idea, filled with common sense.. now why didn't I think of that myself? Smile.

Shrinky said...

Suldog, our kids hold our hearts in the palm of their hands, they have little idea of how easily they can crush it..

Shrinky said...

Suldog, our kids hold our hearts in the palm of their hands, they have little idea of how easily they can crush it..

Shrinky said...

Aw c'mon Pat, I'll bet you've shed manys a tear when your team loses a game! Grin..

Shrinky said...

quilly, oddly enough the policeman who took Matt's statement shared that same sentiment, said it probably wasn't such a bad thing for him to experience a non injurnous accident at his age, it's provided him with a sharp and valuable lesson of what a car is capable of.

Akelamalu said...

It's scary when they no longer have to hold your hand to cross the street! It gets easier when they leave home because you don't know where they are most of the time. I still worry though even though they're 32 and 37!

Shrinky said...

Ah maalie, something scary happens every other week, we just keep dodging the bullets..

Shrinky said...

akelamalu, you know the funny thing is I really and truly do look forward to the day they'll all fly the coop, just think - no more mess, sweaty socks or flocks of their mates to pick the fridge clean.. oh happy day!

Jay said...

It's a tough time to live through, that's for sure.

My older son got his licence, and drove carefully. Looked after his little car so well, and saved until he could buy a new one once he started earning. He still had the original in pretty good condition.

My younger son got through seven cars in less than three years. Yep, seven. He crashed the first going round a corner too fast, with a friend in the passenger seat, that was the worst. He rang me to tell me about it, and bless him, the first thing he said was 'we're okay, but ... ' I told him ALWAYS ring me yourself, so I know you're OK, and he did. The other cars died through lesser incidents, some through neglect. He doesn't drive right now because he can't afford to, but actually he's now a pretty good driver.

Thank heavens.

Shrinky said...

Jay, that's another thing I can't for the life of me understand.. how come you can have a kid or two, bake them all exactly to the same recipe, and yet they all unfailingly seem turn out so totally different??

Yeah, if I'm worried now about my eldest son, the "sensible" one, Lord help me when my eldest daughter starts to take to the road!! (Eeek!)

Les Becker said...

And that's what it takes: PURPOSELY letting go. Coming from me, THE Smother Mother, that should count for something.

I only have the one chick, and I'll never have another. Every time she leaves the house (with the make-up, and the hair-dye, and the ever freaking larger bra-size), I have to hold my breath and remind myself that she's probably NOT going to die/be kidnapped/paralyzed/overdosed/poisoned with alcohol before she gets home.

Probably.

CHEWY said...

I take it that since this accident, Matt is okay... in that he has no fears of learning to drive?

Wonderful effect of polarizing the photo. Matt's hands appear to be moving.

SJ said...

Hmmm... my mother does fuss about at times even now 31 years after i was born. I can see why now.

Jay said...

"how come you can have a kid or two, bake them all exactly to the same recipe, and yet they all unfailingly seem turn out so totally different??"

I know!! Weird, isn't it? But they just do. Mind, they can also surprise you by turning out a lot different than you thought. Older son was clumsy, a daydreamer, never seemed to look where he was going or think about what he was doing. He's now a focussed, competent, 'together' sort of person. Younger one, always daring things, taking risks, getting into trouble at school - now he's responsible, mature, and much more cautious!

I guess they need to go through phases, too! And they'll even out in the end. Hopefully. ;)

Shrinky said...

Ah Les, you've summed it up so well hon - which is why you HAVE to switch off, either that or handcuff your offspring to the radiator for life!

Shrinky said...

Chewy, kids are so resiliant, he's still looking forward to his driving lessons.

Glad you like the piccy, it's an old one, Mat would be mortified if he knew I'd posted it - he's bulked out a bit since then!

Shrinky said...

sj, if I were your mother, I would fuss too..

Shrinky said...

Jay, that gives me hope.. maybe my eldest daughter will not turn out to be a man-eating air-head after all.. (wink).

Momma said...

Oh yes. I remember getting a call from my then 19-year-old son who was up in NJ visiting his then girlfriend. He sounded out of breath. He said, "I'm okay, Mom, but the car isn't."

He had had his car for 6 months, his own car that he was paying for. Despite my objections, hubby said, "He'll be okay to drive up there. Remember we used to drive all over the country at that age." But we didn't have Asperger's. The Boy gets extreme tunnel vision and doesn't always think through a situation. Add to that 3 other teens in the car.

The damage cost $4000 to fix (covered by insurance) and the insurance rates went up. He eventually broke up with the girl, and he learned a lot from the accident, not the least of which was how to handle a skid and freshly wet roads.

No alcohol, no other cars involved. He simply lost control and went up over a curb, seriously damaging the wheel.

I've never been so frightened, because I couldn't get to him. Dad went up the next morning to help him sort things out and to drive him home. I try not to dread a phone call or visit from the cops when he leaves to go out now, but then again, I think that's part of mothering.

I'm glad your son is okay!

Peace - D

John-Michael said...

I savor the richness of all that is contained in your "he stayed, allowing my need to over-rule his discomfort, he allowed me to breath him in..." If we could but extend and increase the frequency of those wondrous moments.

The Future Was Yesterday said...

I think this is a fear that every parent tries so hard not to think about, then something like this happens and you want to scream at your child, "Fifty is plenty young enough to drive!!"

No one that is not a parent will understand what you wrote about. Every parent who read this post got a cold chill including this one......

BRUNO said...

That's why mothers have SONS---so's we can(could!)keep 'em on their toes, with never a boring moment!

DAUGHTERS are just too dull---they tend to act too much like MOM. At least, until mom turns her back!

(That's what BROTHERS are for, then---to show them how to REALLY behave...!)

Scott from Oregon said...

I was kind and told my parents about all the things I got up to, about twenty years after I was up to them. That way, they could handle it better...

Shrinky said...

Oh momma, doesn't that just make your blood run cold? Maybe like cats, our kids actually have nine lives..?

Shrinky said...

Yes John-Michael, there are times the only language we need is to preciously hold the ones that we love.

Shrinky said...

Ah Dan, "Fifty is plenty young enough to learn to drive.."

Hahahaha! I am SO with you on that (and I would have a year or so's free pass before I need to ferry everyone else around, too..

Shrinky said...

Bruno hon, have you SEEN my eldest daughter..? And sadly, yes - she is EXACTLY like her mother (when her mother was her age..)

Sigh.

Shrinky said...

Scott, you are the perfect son. x

BRUNO said...

Have I seen your daughter? Well, in a word---YES! And my eyes are STILL dilated beyond retrieval!!!

And what'd you expect me to do? Be compassionate??? Hey, we "real-men" actually ARE such---we just don't admit it, in public!

Count yourself(and your family!)fortunate to not being related! I was rough on my sisters---but only because they'd whack the hell outta me with those plastic "wiffle-ball" bats FIRST!!!

But, by gawd, it took TWO of 'em to bring down ONE of me!

That's when I learned how to defend myself the old-fashioned way---by CHEATING...!

Insane Mama said...

I hate that I can't protect my kids either andI have a teenager also wo is driving and it scares the crap out of me. The thing that brings a tear to my eye is the storyI am currently writing about finally meeting a worthwhile man...

Alex L said...

I remember when I was in a car accident, I told my mother a few days after the fact I think she was a bit more annoyed I hadnt told her straight away. Bit of whiplash but thats it. I'm sure he'll be a safe driver.

Shrinky said...

Oh bruno, you are so right my friend, except it's my girls who never get caught, my boys never quite know how to cover up for themselves - always get caught red-handed. Smile.

Shrinky said...

Hi insane momma,

Nice to see you in here. I've just had a peek over at your site, sounds like a true love story.

Shrinky said...

you know Alex, the more comments I receive in here, the less comforted I feel - it seems EVERYONE crashes their cars in their teens - argggggghhhhhhh!!!!

Sandy Kessler said...

very valid points - my saddness is for war and lives terminated to soon, as 2 little girls shot asnd thrown into a ditch ..sk

Shrinky said...

I know sandy, there is a whole world of things to cry for out there.

~Fathairybastard~ said...

It's surprisingly easy to bring a tear to my eye. I'm too young to be this sentimental, but I guess I've always been soft. Weak. Now that translates to an easy empathy. I guess thinking about opportunities lost. that's the worst these days.

Shrinky said...

Ah Jeff, it is no sign of weakness to shed a tear every now and then. Yes, missed opportunities are often hard to reconcile, we can only do our best to grasp the here and now, live our lives the best way we know, and hope it'll all turn out for the best in the end.

SandyCarlson said...

I sure can relate to this one. It's a huge fear.

Carol Cooper said...

Thank goodness he is all right! I believe we are given our set of maternal instincts the moment our little bundle of love pops out and then it's turned to the "on" mode. . . forever. I can relate Shrinky, 16 year old daughter here. Hugs are good eh! :o)

Helena said...

What brings a tear to me eye.... cruelty to animals, pointless, cold hearted cruelty... like the yobs that shot all the cygnets that the swans by Colchester Castle had last year.... or the schoolkids seen hurling the baby ducks into the lake and killing them... or the b**tard who shot my cat Figs and left her blind in one eye, and shot Sam the tabby, resulting in a death from infection... or reports of birds and foxes being killed and left hanging from trees the other year... you get the picture... or maybe it is tears of anger when I hear of these things, or the knowledge that, even if the ba**ards were caught, they would get off scot free....

VE said...

Have him drive one of those Zamboni ice machines. It's much safer...

david mcmahon said...

Carol, just after I finished university and started work, I had a motorcycle (serious cred as far as the Authorbloglets are concerned) my Mum used to tell me she asked for `safety blessings' as I left for work every day.

I was VERY close to my mother and I thought I knew what she meant.

But now that I am a father and I have kids who are out and about, I understand exactly what my Mum meant.

We're in KL at the moment and doing some retail therapy this week.

Shrinky said...

DAVID!!! I am doing a double take here, last I left you, you were sunning it up on a tropical beach, sipping Pinna Colladas! Sure is great to see you in here though (smile). x

Mushy said...

Lost and late as it may be, here is mine.

My Katie Bug started driving on the 16th...her 16th, and I'm terrified. The door bell rang this evening and there she was at the door, unannounced, but feeling grown up at being able to drop in when she wants.

It is good, and a bit fun, but it still worries me.

Mushy said...

Lost and late as it may be, here is mine.

My Katie Bug started driving on the 16th...her 16th, and I'm terrified. The door bell rang this evening and there she was at the door, unannounced, but feeling grown up at being able to drop in when she wants.

It is good, and a bit fun, but it still worries me.