Friday, August 13, 2010

Parental Fears

Larry and I went to pick up Zane from daycare this afternoon. We were stopped at a light about a mile away when I noticed the flashing lights of emergency vehicles up on the hill in the direction we were going. My heart sped up a bit.

"I hope those are not at the daycare," I said. We drove through the intersection and up the hill. The lights got closer, we started to see that there was a fire truck AND an ambulance AND a police car, all congregated in the small daycare parking lot. In fact, there was no room for us to park because of all this, so we pulled up on the grass next to the police car. I could see people gathered around the back of the ambulance where the back doors were open.

I was terrified to walk around that ambulance, but I did it. The director and the assistant director were standing there. I could see a fleeting glimpse of little shoes on the stretcher. The assistant director saw us.

"It's not Zane." I felt myself take a breath. I hadn't realized that I was holding it while I waited to see who was in the ambulance. My rational brain should have reminded me that we would have gotten a phone call if something had happened to Zane, since we gave them about ten different numbers to call, but the rational brain takes a backseat when it comes to stuff like this.

We walked into the daycare, picked up Zane and walked back out to the car. We had to wait a couple of minutes in the car because another parent had parked behind us on the grass. Zane's chattering excitedly about "Happy Meal" and chicken nuggets from the backseat. Larry got a phone call from my brother, who happened to be driving by and wanted to know what was going on; while he's talking my initial numbness wore off. All those emotions-- fear that it could have been my kid in there, relief and thankfulness that it wasn't my boy, then guilt about being happy that it wasn't my child. Of course my response after all that was typical--I got all shaky and started trying to keep from crying. Larry just looked at me.

"Your sister's freaking out now," he informed my brother. I'm sure my brother didn't even act surprised.

I've probably got a lot more of these episodes to live with as my son grows up. He is a boy, after all, and an adventurous, spirited one at that. He's going to climb stuff, and trip over things, and sometimes he's going to get hurt, and it's part of being a parent to be with them through that as well as the good times. I just hope none of those future times involve an ambulance.

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