Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Rites of Passage

My text message ringtone chimed as I drove down Bliss Street.

By the way, I just got into an at-fault accident at work. The car's jacked up.

He had been making deliveries in the company car and didn't see the old pick-up coming as he headed for a parking place. Police cars with flashing lights were on the scene as I approached; no one was hurt, but the fender of the car was crumpled and the pick-up hood gaped.

Boy was standing beside the car in his work uniform. He was holding it together, better than I would have been, but for my shy, conscientious last-born, this combination of exposure and knowledge of fault was excruciating. The strain showed on his face, making him look both older and heartbreakingly young.

I stood beside him in the noonday heat for a few minutes as measurements were taken and tow trucks called.

"Do you want me to stay, or would you rather I go?"

"You can go ahead."

So I drove away, as we do when our children are learning to be adults.

My first fender-bender crumpled the passenger door of my car. Like Boy, I was working when it happened and had to call my boss to explain why I was late getting back to the office.

"I'll be working late tonight," I told her. "I ran into a pole and I need to get an insurance estimate." My voice wobbled and broke.

Go home, she told me. The next morning she told me of her own son's first wreck, and their ensuing conversation.

"He was too grown-up to cry, but it hurt too much to laugh."

Now I know that mothers feel exactly the same way.

1 comment:

  1. A wise friend reminded me once,"Your only as happy as your happiest child." Back at you sweet friend. Love, Rebecca