Yesterday was one of the longest days of my life as a mom. I have had numerous other days that my chosen fulltime occupation has impeded my thoughts and my ability to function to my fullest capacity and yesterday truly was one of them.
I awoke around 4:45 in the morning to my oldest son looming near my bedside, tentatively deciding IF he should kiss me goodbye or slither out the front door without having to listen to my adult perception of what he should Not be doing in addition to starting my concern clock this early.
Roll back to our conversation the previous evening. It went something like this: Mom can you help me rearrange the cars so my car is in last? I look at him a little surprised he is inferring that he needs to get up early on a Saturday especially after the hell week he had at College this week. I look at him puzzled and ask why is he getting up early on Saturday and if he realized that we would be receiving a huge storm that will have winds up until 70 MPH and 2-3 inches of rain. His response irritated me because I think its cruel to mess with my mind this late on a Friday night. My son informs me he is driving to Pennsylvania with his College Paintball team. I responded with "I know You are Kidding" its not nice to get me upset just to bust me. He then informs me he is in fact competing in the "Battle of Stalingrad" a scenario competition that he was 2nd in command of last year and is Team Captain and one of the facilitators of all things on the East Coast Paintball Community. He must be present.
Now as a mother I cannot wrap my head around anything being as important as my child NOT putting himself in harm's way. While reading this you might by now say ...what is she kidding her son plays paintball thats a harms way situation right there. Well my answer is ..I put him out of my head the minute he drives away until he returns. It is the only way I can get thru his competitions.
I have participated in competitive sports and did my best to never let my team down but in my mother colored glasses all I could see was my son driving from NJ to Pennsylvania with wind whipping his car all over I80 with rain drowning his windshield. I tried to reason with him Friday night and came to a stalemate. My last words were if the weather is as bad as they say Saturday morning you would be irresponsible as the captain to allow your team to travel to compete. He smiled at me and told me we would talk in the morning. My stomach sank because I know my son and that was him appeasing me.
So when I awoke to GI Joe Son kissing me so long I made my last stab at trying to make sense of why he needed not to lead his team into possible harm's way on the highway.
My son is a steam roller and nothing gets in his way when he wants something or when he is responsible to complete anything he is tasked with. I am told that the reason WHY my son and I get into conflicts is because he is just like ME.
Well as I begin to lay out my case he stops me cold with: Mom!! I am a Man ya know!!! I told you I will make my own decisions because I know my abilities and limitations. I also do not fear death because I know where I am going when I die. It a win win situation for me either way mom and I love you. You do not need to worry at all I am told by my oldest son.
What could I say to refute anything he said to me. We did raise him to be independent, to appraise decisions based on his strengths and his weaknesses. We also instilled in him not to be fearful because fear holds you back from living and God did not give us the spirit of fear. Checkmate ...I kissed him and wished him well.
I stayed in bed which is unusual for me since I regularly rise early to begin my reading and writing. I prayed for my son during the time he was traveling and trusted that he would arrive at his destination safely. I felt the wind whipping against the brick of my house and heard the rain pelleting my windows. I felt suspended in time for the 2 hours he was traveling on the highway.
The phone rang and my heart stopped. My heart resumed beating when I heard his happy carefree voice on the other end declaring his safe, victorious arrival. His teammates all the while shouting hellos to me in the background. I thanked God for yet another blessing of a safe arrival.
When I got up to face the day I became aware that my property was a mess with objects strewn all over. I had to Not think of my son competing in this weather and the possibilities of trees breaking, tree limbs flying etc.
The weather during the course of the day was getting worse. My husband told me to text my son's phone and inform him that his father would be putting him and his team up in a hotel so do not leave Pennsylvania until he speaks with his father. I know my husband thru all of this was doing his best to allow my son to be the man that he raised him to be and not interfere. My husband did not consider this hotel offer an interference.
My son called and thanked us for the offer but he and his team decided to drive home.
Based on the morning conversation and my son's convictions I had to trust that he was making the correct decision.
The weather was really hitting hard and the house was shaking. Our neighbor's new gutters ripped off of his house and his large barbecue flew thru the air. My husband and younger son went outside to help the neighbor rescue the flying objects. I prayed more for my son and his teammates.
My husband kept looking at the clock and reaching for his cell phone. I kept talking him out of calling our son. I told my husband it would be a distraction from the road if our son answered his call and that if our son was able to call he would. No news was good news. Quietly, My anxiety was mounting and I could not have both of us climbinbg the walls.
Well it seems men do think they are invincible at any age. My husband, while being concerned for our son decided that he was going to drive to blockbuster to rent 2012 in Blue-Ray since we only had a regular DVD version. Our youngest son, (before I could even reply to my husband) chastised him for considering driving while the sirens were going off and tree limbs flying.
Our oldest son finally arrives. He recounts the woes of his drive and to quote" Nobody should be out if they do not HAVE to be" as my husband was heading out the door....
Oh how the roles do reverse LOL. Our two sons step in front of their father and tell him that he is not going to blockbuster to get a stupid movie in Blue-Ray. Its not worth his life. They want their Dad alive.
Chuckle chuckle chuckle.......