The Curious Incident of the Door in The Nighttime.
April 25, 2018
Friday evening. The sun was shining and I was dressed up ready for a night on the town. As I boarded the train and settled back in my seat, I felt carefree and excited about dinner in the city. Yes, I thought, I could get used to this. And then my phone rang and I heard the dreaded words:
“Don’t worry Mum, but I’m on my way to hospital.”
I knew something was wrong because Son#1 doesn’t usually call me at midnight, UK time, and as he explained that he’d had an accident and split his head opened, my heart seemed to literally stop. The reality of being 4000 miles from my baby hit. In the space of about a minute, I experienced fear, worry, guilt... and then relief.
The incident was, shall we say, a young man’s folly - the combination of pre-drinks, high jinx and a miss-judged meeting with a door-frame. Once I’d established the facts and my heart had stopped pounding, I began to process the whole thing.
Firstly, I loved the fact that, as far away as I was, the first person Son#1 called was his mum. Apparently, seconds after the accident took place, with blood pouring down his face, he issued two clear instructions to his worried friends: “Somebody call an ambulance and someone call my mum! As we talked, it quickly became clear that he needed reassurance and advice (and maybe just a tiny lecture on responsible drinking!) He admitted that he was expecting me to be cross, but instead I was completely calm (at least I sounded calm, even if I didn’t feel it!). I stayed on the phone with him, messaging back and forth, getting regular updates.
Secondly, I realised that, even if I’d been in England, I wouldn’t have done anything differently. I wouldn’t have rushed to his bedside; after all, he’s a grown(ish) man now, he handled it with the support of his friends. He didn’t need me to be there with him, he just wanted me to be there for him.
Finally, I realised that we can all get into scrapes, however old we are. This was brought home to me when I got off the train and, tottering in new heels through Union Station whilst texting Son#1, I fell flat on my face - all dignity lost! Sitting on that cold floor, surrounded by evening commuters, I laughed as I realised that, just like my boy, the one person I wanted to call was my mum! Maybe we all just need a bit of reassurance and advice when we get hurt, whether we’re 18 or 46!
Luckily for both of us, our injuries weren’t serious. Son #1 ended up with a glued forehead and a pretty cool Harry Potter-esque scar! As for me? The fall didn’t hurt, but maybe the whole incident left me a bit scarred too. I won’t always be there to patch him up, not just because I’m far away, but because he’s a grown up now, and that’s what really hurts.