Slippery slopes

The adrenaline rush lasted long into the night.

It began raining ice about noon yesterday. Then it turned to thick, fast-falling snow. It snowed and it snowed and it didn’t stop until 11 p.m. I left work at 4:15, dreading the 65-mile journey home. It was slow. It was treacherous. And I still can’t understand why the crazy lady in the minivan thought she could handle the passing lane when a semi and two 4WD vehicles thought traveling in the right lane at 35 mph was necessary and safe.

But she did. She came flying past, spewing snow and slush all over us. Mother Nature gave her a time-out in the median.

I thought about her a lot on the drive home. First, because I was angry, chastising her for endangering the lives of others in her haste to get somewhere …

But I felt it, too. The powerlessness. The urge to get out of this hopeless situation that dragged on for miles and hours. Scraping my windshield while driving because the defroster and wipers couldn’t keep up. Gripping the wheel and focusing on the road ahead. Praying the people around me didn’t lose control. Praying my tires hugged the slick, unscraped road. Praying I would make it home to my children, unscathed. Praying for Farmguy, who was battling his own snowy stretch of road heading south out of Cleveland, the lake effect snow capital of Ohio.

Eventually I made it within spitting distance of our town. The hill just west of the village was peppered with flashing lights and sideways cars and people lined up for a 1/4 mile. I turned around, took a road less-traveled and eventually found the road home …

Just me and the snow. Drifts were started and tire tracks were non-existent but I didn’t care. I was home and the road was muscle-memory familiar and the lights of my neighbors welcomed me as I traveled the dark, wintry countryside.

And then I felt bad for the lady who landed in the median.

She probably wanted to get home to her kids, too.

(And I’m sure she did — a State Trooper stopped to help her almost immediately.) 

It took Farmguy nearly five hours to get home. He had to navigate lanes and interchanges and lots and lots of traffic. I know. Many people do it all the time … but I don’t. And rather than being cool, calm and collected like my husband, I was tense and frustrated and prayerful.

Not because I’m afraid to drive in snow … because I want my kids.

Because they need me. Because they’re all alone (they weren’t, I promise!). Because the worst snowfall of the winter occurs on the one day a week I leave home and drive to work. Because the weather and the traffic and the conditions are keeping me from being with the second-most important things in my life. Because apparently I’m overprotective and a control freak and I. Must. Get. To. My. Kids. and smell their hair and hug them tight and soak in their smiles and make them ok.

Am I the only one? The only mother who ever considers what would happen to her family if she didn’t make it home? The only mother who imagines how she would handle a terminal diagnosis or a sudden catastrophe? The only woman who hears a song that speaks her heart and thinks, I want this played at my funeral.

I’m not morbid, really. I’m practical. No one knows. No one can plan, even if they try. All we can do is live in the moment, notice the little things. So that when faced with a fearful situation that gives us quiet time to ponder our very existence and its fragility, we can confidently say, it would be ok. They would survive without me. I’ve loved them so much they will feel it for years and years and years. I don’t have to worry. Not that I don’t pray every day to avoid such situations. I do.

So there. An unloading of my secret self. The inner ponderings of a slightly gone crazy, 30-something Mama. Boy am I ready for the cleansing rains of spring.

I need to sniff some tulips.

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