Of Platitudes and Percocet and, um, Love

December 11, 2006

I was feeling pretty good this weekend: I had managed to reach a point where I could be philosophic (as they say) about the gloomy turns that life had been taking. I found light and poetry in my reflections on death. I swore my commitment to love and light over gloom and dark. Life was giving me lemons, and I was making lemonade! Go me!

So it was with light heart and sparkling eyes that I loaded WonderBaby into our car and, with the Husband, plotted a sunny afternoon drive to a small town just outside the city, the kind of small town with cobbled streets and old stone buildings and little cafes and all the sorts of things that you find in pretty small towns that are keenly aware of the effect of their charms on romantic city-dwellers like myself. It was a sunny day, a mild day, and we were meeting friends. Maybe, later, we would find ourselves a Christmas tree. We would be light-hearted. Happy. Grateful for our wonderful life. Somewhere, I’m sure, an angel was just about to get her wings.

Or not.

We were only about fifteen minutes into our trip, still in the city, stopped at a light, when our sweet day came to a shattering end. I heard the crash, the thundering clang of metal on metal, felt my body lurch back and forward and back again. I felt my neck twist and my back wrench and heard myself scream and then all I could think was the baby the baby the baby and I didn’t think about the pain in my neck as I spun around in my seat and grabbed at WonderBaby, clutching her arms, her legs, running my hands around her little neck as she stared back, wide-eyed, terrified, and I cried are you alright are you alright?

She was alright. She moved, she turned, she didn’t flinch as I poked and squeezed. She didn’t cry. She just stared.

Later, after Husband had restrained himself (with difficulty – my sweet, gentle husband restrained himself only with difficulty) from attacking the silly young man who had sped into us, and after he had dealt with police officers and after he had declined the ambulance to take us to Emergency himself, he said, we were lucky.

We were lucky.

We were fine. WonderBaby was thoroughly examined and determined to be unscathed (this, after she had overturned the waiting room at Pediatric Emergency). Husband was sore, but unhurt. I was (am) hurt, but nothing insurmountable: whiplash, torn muscles along the spine, an embarassing stint in a neck brace that wounded my dignity, somewhat. It was scary – really really scary – but we’re fine.

I’ve had to keep reminding myself of that. I spent some hours struggling with disbelief – why me? why this week? - before the pain got too bad and I relented to a dose of percocet and a Beverly Hills 902010 marathon, after which deep thoughts – any thoughts – were impossible. For a while, the next day, I thought, maybe this is funny, in the manner of being absurd. But I soon dispensed with that thought – it wasn’t funny. We were very close to being more badly hurt. My baby was in a car accident. Some tard got a bit itchy on the gas pedal and put my child in danger. My family in danger. He hurt us.

But, but… true to what I said in my last post, I can’t dwell on the bad and the sad and the scary and ever-present spectre of death. I can’t live sad and afraid. What I can do – what I must do – is be grateful that we’re fine, especially when some others haven’t been fine, won’t be fine, some others close to me. If anything, Saturday’s car accident serves as a reminder of how true is the maxim that we must be grateful for what we have, embrace what we have, seize it and squeeze it hard.

Such platitudes, but so true: life is fragile, and short, and bitter and sweet. Precious, for its fragility and its sweetness.

Precious, too, for the love that abounds in the communion of lives – and for the love that has been running over the cups of the blogosphere this week. While I was brooding, friends were joining together to take calls to action a little further than I ever imagined.

Kristen telephoned me on Friday to tell me that she and Julie, with the help of a host of other folks with big, big hearts (see full list here), had come up with a crazy, wonderful, spectacular idea – to lift Her Bad Spirits and make the world a better place. By doing something crazy, wonderful and spectacular for Tanner. They were putting together a raffle-auction, to benefit Tanner, to raise funds to be donated to MD Canada, in his name. And they were going to solicit letters, too: they would ask parents to ask their children to send him a card, a note, a drawing, a piece of cheer to brighten the life of a boy who has struggled with being different, with being marked as different because he has a disorder that is crippling him and that will, one day, kill him. They were doing all this Tanner. And for me, because they know how much I love Tanner, and how very much I wish for happiness in his short life.

My heart nearly burst. It is still bursting. It will ever be bursting, from this outpouring of love.

(I’m tempted, here, to make a joke about how maybe my over-bursting heart was kind of an air-bag against all the badness of the car accident, which happened the day after I received word of the auction, but then I’d have to account for the decidedly non-bouncy chest that contains the bursty heart, and the joke sort of starts to fall flat – no pun intended – because I got too literal which is why I avoid jokes and why was I trying to be funny in this PROFOUND post anyway?)

Go, go, see what they have done, are doing. Join in. Buy tickets. Have your children write letters. Spread the love.

Her Bad Auction

And accept my deepest, most hearfelt thanks, for being my friends, and for always reminding me that this world, this life, is indeed filled with so much love, so much laughter and so much joy.

Thank you.

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    Lara December 12, 2006 at 12:06 am

    i know, i know, i know it is not the focus of the post, but i am SOOOO glad you and hubby and wonderbaby are all okay. that was so scary – reading the beginning of this post! i’m glad you’re keeping an eye on the love, instead of the fear and the doubt. sometimes, it’s the only way to make any forward progress. am sending much love from my little corner of the blogosphere.

    toyfoto December 12, 2006 at 12:10 am

    I can’t believe it. I’m so relieved you are all OK, and I hope you’re recovery is speedy. You are really such an inspiration.

    kittenpie December 12, 2006 at 12:12 am

    OMG, I totally had my hand over my mouth for this whole post, holding my breath quite literally. Let me know if you need any help with anything, okay? I have Friday off and all next week, and I would be happy to come over and help out one way or another. So so so glad it wasn’t worse. Big hugs of relief to the three of you.

    Dana December 12, 2006 at 12:29 am

    I’m so glad you are alright. That is so scary. I’d have been a nervous wreck, for sure.

    Dana December 12, 2006 at 12:31 am

    I’m so glad you are alright. That is so scary. I’d have been a nervous wreck, for sure.

    Awesome Mom December 12, 2006 at 12:35 am

    I am so glad that you are OK! I would freak out too if I was in a car accident with any of my kids. It is so different when they are in the car.

    Haley-O December 12, 2006 at 12:40 am

    OH MY GOSH! Thank GOD you’re all okay! How horrible and terrifying. I can’t imagine. I’m sorry you went through it. Thank God you’re all okay! I hope you’re feeling better now, and that you’re not too sore, etc..

    Tali December 12, 2006 at 12:53 am

    Wow. I felt like my own neck started aching as I read this post. I think my heart rate is not quite back to where it started. I’m very glad to hear that you, WBaby, and your Husband are ok, and I also want to add that you should include your amazing talent for powerful writing on your mental list of things to be grateful for in life.

    [Usually a lurker, so hi.]

    jen December 12, 2006 at 1:06 am

    bad…mother of god.

    i am so thankful – on knees thankful – that you are ok. that wonderbaby is ok. that you are ALL ok.

    bad…mother of god.

    Lady M December 12, 2006 at 1:18 am

    Thank god all three of you are (mostly) ok. I was in a freeway-speed crash that totalled the car one month before I got pregnant, and I can’t imagine how much scarier it becomes with the baby in the car. Much love to you. It’s beautiful how you’ve inspired so many people to start great projects like H-b-Auction.

    Jaelithe December 12, 2006 at 2:06 am

    Having been in a car accident with a son in my car, caused, incidentally, by a silly young man who accelerated into us from behind (while talking on his cell), I know exactly the level of horrifying panic that comes when someone hits you when your child is in the car, and I’m so sorry you had to deal with that, and your own injuries, on top of everything else!

    (Incidentally in my case it was me forcibly restraining myself from beating the young man. My husband is a lot nicer and calmer than I am . . .)

    I would wish you luck, but you don’t want my car accident luck, woman. (Which you already know).

    So, how about, I will buy some raffle tickets and have Isaac draw Tanner a picture, and just send you mental hugs instead?

    Mel December 12, 2006 at 2:31 am

    Holy shit, Catherine, that is scary.
    We got rear-ended in our little Jetta when Really Rosie was a baby; it was a small impact and nobody was hurt, but my first thought, too was ohmygodthebabythebabythebaby… and I really believe that you really couldn’t have cared less about your own pain at that moment.
    Frightening and intense and holy shit, I’m glad you’re all okay.
    Heal quickly.

    Blog Antagonist December 12, 2006 at 7:56 am

    Oh my heavens…I don’t know how your husband restrained himself. I’m glad you all are okay. And what a wonderful thing that Kristen and company are doing. Those are the kind of friends that a person never, ever forgets. I hope their auction raises scads of money for your Tanner.

    Mamalooper December 12, 2006 at 7:59 am

    Sooooo glad the three of you are okay. And hope that you are feeling better soon. Big hugs to Wondergirl.

    If you need more dvd’s, I have a few seasons of Felicity that would go very well with the percocet……

    Suzanne December 12, 2006 at 8:05 am

    Close calls like this can always summon the what-ifs. I’m so glad you and your family are all right.

    Karen Rani December 12, 2006 at 9:09 am

    While I would never make light of your situation – I’m glad you emailed me in your Percocet Haze, but that was some funny shit.
    I hope you’re feeling better extra-very–really-soon, and I’m so PROUD that Kristen asked me to participate in the auction. I will post about it later on today. I hope it raises a ton of money.

    ali December 12, 2006 at 9:19 am

    because THAT was just what you needed…a car accident to top it all off…
    i’m glad to hear that wonderbaby wasn’t hurt and that a little 90210 therapy has helped with your pain!!

    MotherBumper December 12, 2006 at 9:21 am

    Sweet baby bumper – what a time you’ve been having, so freakin’ overwhelming. Anyone else (say, moi) would have just crawled into the basement to emerge sometime in 2007 but you are one strong momma. That 90210 marathon helped me out too.

    Here’s to a successful auction and I’m glad WB is safe.

    penelopeto December 12, 2006 at 9:24 am

    Oh my god – not funny. not funny at all. so so glad that you are (almost) all ok. But i know that you would suffer the pain of whiplash a million times over for the relief of turning around and seeing your babe, wide-eyed but safe, in the back seat.

    speedy recovery to you, my friend.

    chichimama December 12, 2006 at 9:25 am

    How utterly scary. I am so glad everyone is OK, physically at least. Take care of yourself.

    Mrs. Chicky December 12, 2006 at 9:51 am

    Damn! I’m glad you’re all alright. How your husband restrained himself I’ll never know. I don’t think that young man who hit you knows how lucky he is to not have had his neck wrung by a very angry father.

    Onto something happier: I’ve got my auction trigger finger all ready to go for tomorrow. I have no problem spending money on worthy causes.

    mamatulip December 12, 2006 at 9:54 am

    Oh, Catherine. There’s never a good time for a car accident, but of all the weeks…

    I’m so glad you are all okay. I was rear-ended when Julia was a newborn and by rear-ended I really mean lightly jostled, but I flew out of my car, frantic, checked on Julia and then turned to the other driver and ripped her a new asshole. I couldn’t help myself.

    Be good to yourself, my dear. I hope you’re not too uncomfortable (or stiff).

    The outpouring of love and support that has gone into this auction has left me teary at times. I’m honoured and proud to be a part of such an amazing project, and to be part of such a kickass community.

    Nancy December 12, 2006 at 9:55 am

    So glad that everyone in your family is OK after the accident. How horrifying and scary that must have been.

    Love to you, as always. I can’t think of a more deserving person to direct action to than sweet Tanner and his family. (Mimi’s working on her letter.)

    metro mama December 12, 2006 at 10:18 am

    Oh, how frightening. Thank God you guys are (mostly) OK.

    I have the Sound of Music. Can I bring it over, along with a bottle of wine?

    crazymumma December 12, 2006 at 10:25 am

    I really cannot believe that this happened to you this week. I am now firmly convinced that sometimes the universe tests us to find out our limits. And I am so relieved you are ok, esp Wonderbaby…Make sure you go and get some massages, you may not realize it now, but some ‘kinks’ may have to be worked out of your neck and back. Probably for little girl as well. Sorry to sound so health preachy….

    I just re read Sticks and Stones, I was recalling it the other night, and it still upsets me so much that the parents have excluded him.

    Get better.

    reddragonsangel December 12, 2006 at 10:47 am

    WOW- so glad that everyone is basically, ok – and my word is that child beautiful ( both of them!) and isn’t it amazing that just when you think you cannot take one more moment of the crap that you have been handed- someone/something comes along and makes you believe in faith and friends and angels- God Bless the ones that are praying and doing for Tanner- isn’t it amazing how quickly you can have your faith restored in humanity and start counting blessings instead of the hardships- ( hugs)- gentle ones since youre sore- get better soon-

    Janet a.k.a. "Wonder Mom" December 12, 2006 at 10:52 am


    I just want to sit there and hug you.

    Binkytown December 12, 2006 at 10:53 am

    Oh Catherine. What can I possibly say besides what a shitty shitty thing to have happened and how reading that made my heart hurt for you. I’m so happy that you are all OK. Better than OK, that you are well and can find a way to not be sidetracked emotionally by this. You are one tough cookie & I’m so ready for auction day!

    Granny December 12, 2006 at 11:00 am

    My life has been a little nuts lately and I’ve been remiss coming over here.

    Awful feeling an accident is. I remember one with my oldest son in the car (before seat belts) and getting him to the floor with me on top of him.

    I think I know what you were going through and I’m so glad all three of you came through mostly okay.


    PunditMom December 12, 2006 at 11:04 am

    HBM, I cannot believe that happened to you. I don’t know what I can say, except that I’m glad I can do a little bit to help with the auction and that you should rest and get better. I’m so glad you all were OK! We wil keep you in our thoughts.

    mayberry December 12, 2006 at 11:24 am

    So so scary! And I am so so glad you’re all OK.

    Andrea December 12, 2006 at 11:30 am

    OMG, I’m so glad you are okay, wounded dignity aside. (I bet you look hot in the neck collar. If not, add pasties. Pasties make it better, isn’t that what you said this summer at BlogHer?)

    Facing mortality is so hard, so demoralizing, so intense. Sometimes, it almost seems to cycle in and out, sort of pattern-like.

    Here’s a hug dot com to help you through. Must go buy ticket now.

    Karla December 12, 2006 at 12:32 pm

    I’m so glad you and your family are OK. I remember feeling the exact same when when I was rear ended at 26 weeks pregnant with this baby. I just kept thinking “why me” after loosing two babies already…and then being in a car accident and having my baby at risk for a detached placenta? I too felt lucky knowing baby and me where OK in the end, but damn, car accident’s are scary.

    I hope you’re feeling better soon.

    Anonymous December 12, 2006 at 12:34 pm

    It’s good to hear that you all turned out ok considering. When my 2 kids were smaller a older lady ran a stop sign to cross over into the church she worked at and hit me with the kids. She was unconcerned with my children and questioned how I could have the nerve to run into her! Kudos to your husband for keeping his cool.

    Kids Toolbelt Queen

    Lisa b December 12, 2006 at 12:52 pm

    I am so sorry to hear about the car accident. That is terrifying. I am glad wonderbaby is ok and hope you are on the mend.

    I am so excited about the auction and the letters to Tanner.

    T. December 12, 2006 at 1:21 pm

    I am so happy to hear you and your family are okay. Your husband showed incredible restraint. When I was rear-ended when pregnant with the second, and my daughter was in the car, my husband did not show the same restraint. It was awful.

    As for the auction and the letters, you know I am in.

    My kids are already composing their letters to their new friend, Tanner.

    Christina December 12, 2006 at 1:32 pm

    Yikes, it’s just not the week for cars, is it? I’m glad you and your family weren’t seriously hurt!

    The raffle auction looks awesome, and of course the cause is wonderful. And I just sold some items on eBay for a little more than I expected, so I should have a little money to play with at the auction as well!

    Beck December 12, 2006 at 1:49 pm

    Good grief, that’s awful. Car accidents are SO scary. Isn’t it shocking when our gentle, pacifistic husbands suddenly become these raging maniacs? I hope you’re feeling better – I hurt my neck in a car accident when I was 13*, so I know what you’re feeling!

    Off to check out the auction – that’s the loveliest thing!

    *I was in an orange Lada, too.

    Nikki Stafford December 12, 2006 at 1:59 pm

    Oh my goodness, thank god you’re OK.

    Three weeks ago my husband and I drove to London from Toronto to pick up our new car that we’d just bought. On the way home, I was driving with my 2-year-old, taking the 401, and he went 403. He watched as a white van sped across three lanes at a time, jumping in front of other cars (as they braked hard), zipping behind others, just trying to get ahead. Then she moved in behind him. She thought his lane was going a little too slowly, so she watched for a break in the lane beside them, stepped on the gas… and just then he hit the brake because the person in front of him did. She rammed right into the back of him, turning the car toward the concrete barrier, and smashing him into it. The car crunched like an accordion.

    She turned out to be a 16-year-old girl with 2 friends in the car she was showing off for, and admitted full culpability to the police officer. My husband was upset that our new car was completely written off, but I was so thankful he was OK. In the end, as he said to me, what angered him the most (and yes, he turned into a raging lunatic at the scene, shouting obscenities that are not in his nature) was that our 2-year-old daughter should have been in that car with him — WOULD have been, had we not been picking up a new car and therefore driving separately. The impact of the van crunched the trunk of the car up into the backseat, which is where my daughter would have strapped in. I don’t want to imagine what would have happened had she been in that car, and I absolutely feel your terror in the moment of impact. Thank god she was OK, and that my husband ended up walking away with whiplash and bruises, but nothing more.

    I hope these maniacs get off the road before they kill someone.

    Suz December 12, 2006 at 2:07 pm

    I’m looking forward to the auction and to helping Tanner …. but the story of the car accident is my worst nightmare as it is of so many mothers. I’m glad that you husband was able to restrain himself from attacking the itchy-gas-pedal driver. I have no idea how he managed to do so…

    Mad Hatter December 12, 2006 at 2:23 pm

    HBM, I’m glad to hear you’re doing ok and that no one was hurt.

    On a separate matter altoghter: ARE YOU CRAZY? Wonderbaby and a Christmas tree? Won’t this be a disaster waiting to happen? I can just see her now, swinging from the star and tossing the ornaments pell mell. Will it be a gated tree? Poor tree.

    Gabriella December 12, 2006 at 2:32 pm

    So glad that you are all ok!

    nomotherearth December 12, 2006 at 3:10 pm

    This is one of my worst nightmares, and the reason I drive less than I could with the baby. I’m so glad to hear that she’s okay, and you and the Husband will recover.

    I have every season of Buffy, if you need it. It would be cool to watch while on drugs. ;-)

    Melissa December 12, 2006 at 4:51 pm

    That is so scary and I’m so glad you guys are okay. Word to the wise, if the doctor rcomends physical therapy or whatever, do it. Trust me, it will help in the long run.

    I think it’s great, the auction thing and the letters for Tanner. I plan on donating. Oh and I have all the seasons of Alias and Charmed if you’d like to borrow them. I’d send them to you, I really would. Feel better.

    Kate December 12, 2006 at 5:24 pm

    Very glad that you’re better… and remember that Percoset-better is still better.

    And how sweet, for the auction for Tanner. Such a good cause. He’s worth it.

    ewe are here December 12, 2006 at 5:32 pm

    Good grief! This is my nightmare!

    I am so glad to hear you are all going to be okay. And I thank god that baby car seats were invented; we always check ours so carefully and make sure MF is strapped in tight.

    On the happy side, the auction is going to be a lovely event.

    TB December 12, 2006 at 6:16 pm

    What a frightening thing. I can’t imagine. I’m so glad everyone is safe and I look forward to the auction tomorrow.

    Rock the Cradle December 12, 2006 at 6:16 pm

    Holy shit!

    You’re ok! Mostly. Don’t I just want to do major damage to the asshole who ran into you. WTF!!

    Big hugs to all of you.

    krista December 12, 2006 at 9:00 pm

    It’s been some crazy times for you these days huh?

    I’m making beaded snowflakes for the auction, warm wishes going into every bead for you, tanner, wonder baby and the rest of your fam.

    Naomi (Urban Mummy) December 12, 2006 at 9:12 pm

    Glad you are all okay. Car accidents are so scary.

    I’m glad to be a part of the auction, and I hope we raise a lot of money, and awareness for Tanner.

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