At twenty, my son has that sense of invulnerability that makes for good setting out and lumps in mother’s throats. He is sure of himself and his ability to engage with life. This is a good thing.
And yet, all of those who have borne babies know that confidence is not enough sometimes. Saturday night, while biking home from work, Jamie was T-boned by a speeding car. He and the good man who drove him home figure the car was going about 45 mph when it ran into him.
The car slowed, and then sped off, leaving my boy tangled in his mangled bike and thankfully thankfully thankfully alive.
A week ago, after badgering him every time I saw him about his helmet use (or blatant lack thereof) I bought him a face mask for winter biking. BUT, the proviso was that if I bought the thing, he had to wear his helmet.
Finally, he complied. That helmet saved his life.
After having the sorts of scans a person ought to post speeding car impact, it was determined that he had a slight concussion. The relentless nausea of it all has subsided and he is now creaky, without his beloved bike, and certainly more aware that mortality is, even for twenty year olds.
Every day is a letting go. We love our babies and launch them and then we pray that the precious wonder that walks in their being will be safe. Sometimes the jarring truth of life’s fragile wonder is literally slammed into our awareness. We turn and face the terror that is loving and the always real that is danger and we hit our knees and pray: Oh God, not this son of mine, not this, not this.
Not this time.