THE SCARIEST COMMUTE HOME OF EVAR.
Last year school was closed early due to inclement weather. It was snowing and pretty and we were all driving 10 miles an hour because snow is such a marvel here in the great state of Georgia. Then we got a snow day for this:
|Vintage Joshua. Awwwww.|
Today was not even remotely like that.
Today was the scariest experience behind the wheel of a car I’ve ever had. Period.
We’ve had some ridiculously cold weather for the past few days. It was 70 three weeks ago. But, Old Man Winter has descended on our great state and the temperature has been in the teens every morning since this weekend. I knew that there was going to be some freezing rain and sleet today, but it was supposed to start around 5:00, which would’ve been plenty of time for me to get Joshua and get home before it started.
Well, it rolled in early. o_o
I was packing up my computer and getting ready to leave for the day at about 4:00 and I started to hear little plinks of something on the roof of my mobile. That something was ice. I could hear it crunching under my boots as I walked in the building. 30 minutes later, I was out the door, still not thinking it’d be that bad. (I live in Georgia. What did I know before today??) The parking lot at school hadn’t been icy at all. Though it WAS empty, which should’ve been a sign.
30 minutes after that, I finally arrived at Joshua’s daycare.
It’s normally an EIGHT MINUTE DRIVE.
Immediately after pulling out of the high school’s driveway, I noticed that my car had very little traction. I slowed to a crawl and saw trucks ahead of me slipping and sliding around. Part of me panicked because I knew I’d have to drive over that same patch of road in mere seconds. But I had to get my son. So I kept driving.
There were rough patches and people being extra cautious (thank God!) and then I turned onto the road where Joshua’s daycare is located. It was awful. Seriously awful. A truck in front of me coasted off the road. An oncoming car coasted into someone’s front yard. And I just kept driving. Slowly. Toward my son.
I made it to the daycare, thankfully. I sent Dan a text (while parked, of course) advising him to be careful because the roads were awful. I told him that I was scared to drive Joshua home. And I was scared. Terrified. All knotty and lumpy in my stomach and afraid. He’s the most precious thing I have and I can’t really bear the thought of something happening to him without being reduced to a puddle of inaction at the fear that something might happen to him.
But someone had to drive him home. And I was there, so that someone was going to be me.
I went inside the daycare and another parent there had turned around and come back asking for advice on an alternate way to get home since the road he normally takes had been closed due to ice. Ms. E joked that they might have to pull down the mats and start making room for people to spend the night.
(I later found out that this nearly came to fruition. My daycare owners, a husband-wife team who are the nicest, most kind people I’ve ever met, opened the doors of their daycare to the parents and children who couldn’t make it home, prepared to let them stay all night. The last baby was picked up at 9:50, four hours after they are supposed to close for the night. I want to cry when I think about their kindness. In fact, I did tear up earlier. I’m a mushy, PMS-y sap this week.)
Joshua and I loaded up and I made sure the straps on his car seat were extra tight and that there was no slack in them. Then I climbed in the car and we started on our way.
And by started I mean, I crawled out of the driveway of the daycare and spent the next hour trying to get us home in one piece. And it wasn’t easy. Just as soon as I’d think “Oh, whew, the roads are better here” the car in front of me would hit a patch of ice (going 10 miles an hour or less, mind you) and their back end would slide out and I’d see that and brace myself for driving over it.
I tried to remember something, anything about how to drive in this stuff. But the fact is you can’t. Not easily. Not well. You can just hope and pray you don’t end up in a ditch or up a telephone pole or in oncoming traffic. And don’t hit the brakes when you start to slide.
I won’t recount for you EVERY time we almost lost control because that would take forever. I will, however, tell you that I have never been so happy to get home in my life.
The last stretch of our commute home was definitely the worst. There were cars on both sides of the road. One yard had five cars in it. People were abandoning their cars on the sides of the road in favor of walking the rest of the way home. I briefly pondered doing the same and putting Joshua in the Techno XLR with the rain cover and walking. And then I thought “You’re an idiot.” And I kept driving.
I tried to soothe Joshua when he started fussing about having been in the car for so long. Him screaming in the car is a trigger for me. It makes me all sorts of crazy and unable to think straight. I was terrified that he’d go into a meltdown while I was driving us home in such treacherous conditions. That would’ve been a recipe for disaster, I can guarantee that much.
I talked to him about what was going on. I reassured him that we’d be home soon. I pointed out Christmas lights on houses we were passing. I did everything I knew how to do except give him the iPhone so he could play his Shapes game.
And then I heard it.
He was vomming.
And then I smelled it.
And then I wanted to vom.
My little boy? He was so brave. So, so brave. Normally vomming makes him cry. He wails and sobs and is so uncomfortable and scared. Tonight he just sat in silence and I nearly cried. I wanted to reach back and comfort him. Or pull over and clean him up. But I could do neither. I was helpless. And he was brave and not crying.
(Thank God I didn’t hand him the phone so he could play Shapes, right?)
Finally, FINALLY, we made it. And when I opened his car door, he started to lose it. And I just wanted to hug him and cry. (But he was covered in vom.)
I got as much of the vom cleaned up in the car as I could, stripped him down, and carried him inside. He was just happy to be in my arms and out of the car.
Dan? He arrived home at 8:00. He left work at 5:45. That’s almost two hours longer than it normally takes him to get home.
Roads everywhere are closed in all directions. I have friends whose husbands are finding hotels or sleeping in their offices.
Tonight? I’m thankful my family is home and healthy.