This topic has been a long time coming. As I sit here rocking Fletch at 3:30 AM, it feels weird to write about such things. This is part of the new paradigm that exists in my life of joy/sadness. Hard to except that they now exist mutually exclusively.
After the accident, it was if my driveway didn’t exist. It was like a game I used to play when I was little, it was ‘hot lava’ and I couldn’t go near it or I’d be burned. It was my achilles heel, still is.
I used to park on a side street and go through my backyard. The problem was the school hours parking ban and climbing up brick steps and then balancing along my stone retaining wall to even get to my yard. Not a great option in New England winters.
I knew once Fletch was here things would have to change. At first my solution was to park at the base of the driveway and still only use the bottom portion. This then required climbing a hill of ground covering up to the house. The only way to any door in my house was up. Carrying the carseat this way didn’t make any sense.
Eventually I just gave up and started parking in the driveway again. It was the only ‘safe’ way to get Fletch into the house. Parker had always backed in since the accident, the theory being that we wouldn’t get caught in any open doors should the car roll.
I can’t begin to tell you the number of times I check to see if the car is in park. It’s become an OCD habit. I refuse to pull keys from the ignition unless I’m in the car. I triple check the parking break as extra assurance, although I’m not entirely sure how helpful it really is.
We live on a busy enough street, on a curve in a hill. Backing into this driveway sucks. People aren’t always very patient with me and make me panic when they come flying down the hill at me. To say I have anxiety over backing into my driveway is an understatement.
The week before the 2 year anniversary of the accident, I found I had to pull in one rainy day because someone had parked at the bottom. Well, Parker came home and this unnerved him which in turn stressed me out further. You really can’t see well out of the back of the suburban. I had already backed into the fence and the Volvo, further adding to my discomfort.
The Friday anniversary of the accident found me running late to get home to get Darcy off the bus. Friday always seems tougher than the actual anniversary date for me. As I came down Chester Street, Darcy’s bus was headed uphill. I could see Darcy up on our lawn and breathed a sigh of relief. I started to back into the driveway and Darcy was on my right up on the grass. The driveway is steep, so I usually have to gun it a bit to get the Suburban up it. At the last second I stopped because Darcy was gone from my sight. This was strange as she knows to stay away from moving vehicles. I started looking around in panic, and there she was, peering at me on my left, in my drivers side window. I wanted to scream at her and cry, yet hold her and never let her go in that same instant.
She had walked behind the truck as I was backing up the driveway. It was just about 3:30 on Friday afternoon. A little after tragedy had struck in that exact same spot two years prior. It took everything in me to get out of that truck not completely lose it. How could something so similar almost have happened again, in the same spot, at almost the same time?!?!? What. The. Fuck.
Thank goodness I stopped and looked for her. I couldn’t see her from where I was because the lawn is higher than the driveway, something made me pause and duck down to see if she was where she should be.
So much for feeling like backing in was now the safest way to be in our driveway. I guess that nothing would ever really make me feel comfortable again anyway. It’s all just a false sense of security.
If only this driveway wasn’t a part of this house. If only I could pick up my house and move it away to somewhere new. It’s time to admit this doesn’t work. We tried, but perhaps it’s time to move on. This also fills me with joy/sadness because being free of this driveway excites me, but this is my home. This is where I brought my babies home from the hospital, yet where my son died. It’s hard to balance these two emotions sometimes when they’re everywhere in your life. Why can’t it just be one or the the other? Why does it have to be both at once?