Firstly off, she's fine. So is the other girl. So is the car. I say that right out of the gate because this morning I freaked out my mom and I'll save you the anxiety.
Admittedly, I stressed the first day of sixteen year old driving. A little less so the next. Celia's involvement in the school tennis team accompanying the wrap up of this play has made it's nice having her get herself to and from.
Last night I started to get comfortable.
School, tennis practice, call time for the play and a performance wrapping at 9:30 ish, I was thinking how nice it was to be getting little people fed and off to bed and not blitzing hither and yon.
The house quieted. We left on the porch light and settled in for an episode of Downton Abbey while waiting for her arrival.
In the 10:00 stillness, the home phone rang.
I answered and heard the tearful, little voice on the other end, "Mom ??? .... A girl hit me as I was pulling out of the school.... "
I felt the bottom of my stomach fall out. Like being at the top of a roller coaster drop, knowing it's coming, not knowing how soon, unprepared for the inevitable, disbelieving you're already there.
My vision tunneled for a second. My ears rang with a rush too loud to hear.
"Are you okay?"
"Is she okay?"
"Where are you?" Since the day she was born into this world, we've not torn out of our home base comfort quicker than we did in the cold dark last night.
She was faultless in a side swipe. It's a super scary learning experience of high school parking lot traffic ... most especially after dark.
But ... that call ... that drive wondering if I'd find broken cars and painful bodies littering the stop light intersection ... the relief ... the heartbreak at watching her fear ..
Back home in the quiet, after the damage was surveyed, police reports made, and hugs of thanksgiving, I pulled the covers over my head and lost all my emotions.
All the "could have beens" flooded.
I lament a constant desire to hold these babies of mine close and never let them go. I'm also a firm believer of giving them wings and teaching them to fly.
Last night, I felt like a heartless mother bird perched on the nest edge, pushing one over and watching the flopping flail toward hardened earth while screaming in my head, "Spread them! You can do it! Just fly!!!"
What I didn't know as I'd drifted off to sleep last Thursday night with everyone between the ages of 8 months to 15 and remaining change, that I would never feel as secure again as I was in that moment before children could deliberately be placed in harms way.
This morning I put her back in that car so she could fly.
Changed the wording of my prayers.
Spent the day feeling broken in.
Told myself to never get too comfortable again.
Or take anything for granted.
Repeated no less than a hundred times "Pray and don't worry. Or worry and don't pray."
And that's what that late night call in the dark does to a mom.
That's a fact.