Today was a great day with my family. We carved pumpkins, watched football (yes, that’s very odd for us), worked on Halloween costumes and just spent time with one another.
This has been a rare day for us because Autumn was crazy. Parker traveled a lot for work, school started back up and so did dance, girl scouts, etc. I welcomed this opportunity to be home with my family.
Darcy and I ran to Target and AC Moore to get the finishing touches for her costume. We had to drive across the parking lot and she asked if she had to buckle up, to which I said yes. We had just recently talked about how her booster seat in the car isn’t going away just because she’s 8. She’s just as serious about vehicle safety as I am.
I swear, there are times when I can feel it coming, when I know she’s going to ask questions about the accident. It’s been nearly 3 years and it’s lessened some, but it still gets me every time. I cannot describe it, it’s like feeling a ghost, because I just know.
She asked if I remembered the accident as we drove across the parking lot. I told her yes, bits and pieces. She asked if Benny had been run over and I answered honestly. She said, ‘I thought so.’
She asked me if I dropped him. I tried so hard to explain that it wasn’t on purpose. At that point we were getting out of the car and she started to tell me how she would have held on tight and hopped out of the way. To passersby it probably looked like she was doing a dance as we walked into the store while she described how she would have handled it.
I forget she was only 4. She knew what we told her. She’s nearly 8 and has had plenty of time to process and look at the situation from her 8 year old perspective.
I looked at her and said,’I don’t think we ever told you, but the police came over to the house with my car and reconstructed the accident. They timed how long it would take the car to get from the top of the driveway to the bottom. It was 6-7 seconds. I ran and the car door hit me and knocked Benny out of my arms. There just wasn’t enough time to get out of the way.’
She got it. I think it gave her a clearer picture of what happened. Her response was, ‘oh, well yeah, a car is much heavier than you. And now you park the other way so it won’t happen.’
It just seemed like something clicked with her, that she had a better understanding. In that moment, she seemed so old. Here’s a little girl that believes in Santa and the Tooth Fairy, yet I felt like I was speaking to an adult.
I never really thought about her looking at our situation as she grew up. It must be like watching a movie as a child and then seeing it as an adult and being able to identify the adult humor or situations.
I’m glad that she is giving me the opportunity to speak frankly. I’m so happy to have open lines of communication with her.
I’m so lucky to have this child in my life. She carries our Benny memories with her. She’s what keeps us going, she’s what makes us want more of everything that life has to offer.
2 thoughts on “Getting Older”
What a difficult conversation to have. It sounds like you did a great job.
My father recently died in a car accident that he caused, and my son asks a lot of questions about why Grandpa was breaking the driving rules. My son’s become obsessed with making sure we’re following the rules. “Are we going too fast? That person is talking on their phone while they’re driving! That person didn’t stop at the stop sign!” I know it’s him making sure we’re doing the right thing so that what happened to my dad won’t happen to us, but it’s so, so painful.
I’m so sorry to hear about your father. Kids have such a hard time processing death. They’re so matter of fact about it. My daughter is similar to your son in that she’s very cautious now and worried in and around the car. It’s so hard because all you want to do is shelter them, but you can’t in this situation. I’m so sorry for your family’s loss.