Sunday, September 10, 2006

Highway to Hell

The other day, I had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad dream.

I was walking with another Mum friend of mine on the sidewalk of a city street. The street that we were walking on was very steep. For some reason, I was was pushing two strollers -- mine, with The Boy in it, and hers with her baby in it. My Mum friend was walking about a half block ahead of us, talking on the phone.

Suddenly, the hand that was pushing her stroller slipped. The stroller, and baby, went racing down the hill and out into traffic. My friend looked up from her phone call, but was too late. At that very moment, a car came racing up the street and hit the stroller. The baby flew out of the stroller with the impact and hit the pavement. She was still alive, but a third of her head, including her eye, became one big purple goose egg. She seemed fine but we were worried about permanent damage, so she was rushed to the hospital. I woke up with a start

Of course, I felt terrible. Horrible. No good. Very bad. (I still do, in fact.) I know that it wasn't real, but it seemed very real at the time. I also know that it was an accident, and not caused by neglect on my part. But the worst part of it was, that in the dream, there was a moment when I had a choice. I could have saved her baby, and I didn't. The choice was, I could let go of my stroller, and run after hers. But then my stroller, and The Boy would go careening down the hill into traffic. I chose to hang on tight to my stroller, to save The Boy.

It's natural, of course, to want to protect your child above all others. I shouldn't feel bad for saving him. I don't see what other choice I could have made, but I keep racking my brain for options. I'd like to think that I'm a reliable, trustworthy friend. Someone with whom you wouldn't think twice about leaving your child. I am a very sensible person, and rather good under pressure, but I guess I'm lousy in an emergency.

Since the dream, I've been seeing accidents everywhere, kind of like I have post-traumatic stress disorder or something. I was afraid to take the stroller down an escalator, in case we tumbled head first. I was afraid to take to the 401 to see my in-laws this weekend, in case I crashed the car while The Boy was in it. Do you see where this is heading?

I guess I need to learn to trust myself, before I can ask others to trust me. Any suggestions as to how?

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