One night, seventeen years ago, I was sitting home alone, watching TV, and hugely pregnant with Tre. My husband (at the time) was working nights, and I was passing the lonely evening by watching ER and eating whatever food couldn't escape me.
This night the ER episode had a story about a girl, a young teen, who had taken her father's car without permission. She'd crashed it, of course (this WAS ER, after all), and was getting her leg stitched up and FA-REAKING out about how her dad was going to kill her. And then her dad came in and grabbed her in a tight hug and dissolved in tears of relief that she was okay.
See, now, even seventeen years later, I'm tearing up over that. Gah.
At the time, however, I was twenty seven months pregnant and hugely hormonal, and I completely fell apart. I called my husband at work, sobbing so hard that I scared him. After a few minutes of elegant conversation that was a back and forth between him, "Okay, take a deeeeep breath. It's okay. It's okay. BREATHE. Can you tell me what happened?" and me crazy-crying in reply, "Huh huh huh huh, I just...huh huh huh..." I finally managed to tell him about the TV show and the girl and the dad and finished with an agonized cry of, "THIS BABY IS GOING TO DRIIIIIVE SOMEDAY!!!"
Well, today Clay and I went, of our own volition, to buy a car for Tre. I could be wrong here, but I suspect he intends to drive it. After looking it over and test driving it and all the stuff you do when buying a slightly ratty used car, we handed over all kinds of money and drove that bad boy home. Actually, we stopped and filled it up with gas on the way home, thereby substantially increasing its value.
When we got there, Tre came racing out of the house, bellowing, "YOU HAVE A CAR!"
He was a little happy.
He jumped in it and proceeded to poke at all the buttons and start to get acquainted with the important features of His Car (radio, cup holders, cool factor). Clay went in the house, where he found Sophia, writing on the computer screen in crayon. He told her no, somewhat sharply, and she COMPLETELY fell apart. He brought her back outside, wrapped around his neck like a forlorn little monkey, weeping loudly and leaking large tears. Raphael climbed in and out and through the windows of Tre's car, almost as happy as if it were his.
Max was making dinner, and about this time he noticed that the gas bottle on the grill had run out and needed to be changed. Clay pried Sophia off his neck long enough to swap that out, and Max started cooking the dinner he'd prepared - bacon wrapped cheeseburgers. The gas was turned a little high, and within minutes the bacon/burger grease had started an impressive fire in the bottom of the grill.
While Clay helped Max beat back the flames that were billowing out the back of the grill, and Sophia trotted after her daddy and Raphael climbed into the space right under the back window of the "new" car and Tre dashed in and out, delivering reports like, "The driver's side speaker DOES NOT WORK. But that's okay! I will deal with it!", I set the table and cut up a watermelon to go with dinner.
The family swirled around me, and I could not help but laugh. That frightened pregnant child seventeen years ago could never have imagined. The reality is far more terrifying and wonderful than she ever could have pictured.