Today was one of those days when as a mother, you both sigh with relief and revisit fear. Mondays are always a bit hectic as you start the school week again, and there's a kind of calm that should overtake you once the children are safely on their way to their respective educational facilities.
But this morning I couldn't get over a feeling of restlessness and anxiety. It was one of those "impending doom of unknown origin" days. Perhaps drinking several cups of coffee within an hour or two on an empty stomach contributed to those fluttery feelings that rippled through my middle. It may have started when the Boy's bus was late, and came from a different direction. I always worry when the bus driver seems new, having found that new drivers often make mistakes and children aren't deposited when and where they are expected.
The morning was hardly underway though, when the phone rang. It was one of those recorded messages from the school. But instead of telling parents all about the upcoming open house or the next early dismissal, it was a sobering and heartbreaking message. A young girl had been struck by a car on her way to school. She was crossing a busy street to her bus stop.
I quickly digested what small detail was provided. I noted the street names and could breathe again as I confirmed it could not be one of my children. I listened to the description of injuries known and the fact that she was in the hospital. I was grateful for many things: one, that the girl was alive and two, that my children were safe.
I can only imagine the horror of her friends who witnessed this accident, and the terrible realization of her mother when upon hearing the brakes, screams and sirens, found that it was her little girl who had been struck.
I don't have anything to offer in the way of advice or comfort. As parents, we all do our best to watch over our kids and provide for their health and safety. Every day we take for granted that they will travel securely to and from school, that they will return to us with complaints about homework and a healthy afternoon appetite.
I pray that the little girl will recover quickly and will have no lasting injury or scars from this ordeal. I pray also that vehicles traveling that stretch of road now realize the importance of obeying speed limits and watching for children walking to school or crossing to bus stops. I pray for mothers everywhere who have watched and worried and for those who have had to endure the worst of news.
To my shame, I can remember driving very fast on that very same road early in the mornings on my way to work. We always believe that we are perfectly in control and that the worst can never happen. When you drive to work tomorrow, remember that school-age children are everywhere and they aren't always paying attention - children often don't. And remember that it is better to be a little late for work, than to endanger the life of a child.