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March 01, 2010

Nine Years Later

Traffic_light A significant day in the life of my family has come and gone this week. No one really noticed it. At least no one paused to mention it or bring it up at the family dinner table. It came to mind for me today while I was doing the usual brain inventory to distract me from my 4 mile run this afternoon. I clear out and sort through my thoughts so I don't focus on the fact that my knees are aching just a little more than usual or that my breathing is a little too ragged. It was just as I ran past the 2 mile marker that I suddenly remembered, oh my god, nine years ago Tuesday was that day! How could I possibly forget that day?

What kind of mother am I to forget that day, the day that my child almost died?

How could I possibly forget such a significant day in the life of one of my children? I'm the kind of mother who remembers the days that each of my five children were born down to what my husband describes as the minutest details. "Who remembers stuff like that?", he wonders.

I do.

I remember all the important details of my children and their lives. I know where their physical scars are be they from surgeries or from just falling while roller-blading and scraping their knees when they were six years old. I can describe exactly where birth marks and moles are. I easily remember who took their first steps when and who dropped the F-bomb in perfect context just like their mama when they were all of three years of age. It's my job as their mother, I tell myself, to remember all the important, the very important and the trivial details of my children's lives.

The day that my nearly nine year old daughter was struck down by a six-ton flatbed truck hauling an earth mover while it traveled 30 mph on Camden Avenue should be a day that I would always remember, always recall down to the tiniest of detail. It is a day that I won't ever forget. Yet as the ninth anniversary of that horribly terrifying day came and went I did forget. At least I forgot until I found it buried deep in the back of my mind next to that day in second grade where I didn't quite make it from the school playground to the bathroom in time.

Now why in the world do I go and dredge up memories like that? Oh yeah, I'm doing mind inventory to distract myself while I run.

That day, nine years ago, was indeed horrible. It was terrifying. It's a day that no parent should ever, ever have to live through. It wasn't until 48 hours later that we knew for sure that our little girl was going to be, miraculously, okay. She wouldn't be up for her planned ninth birthday party three days later. But, thank goodness, she was going to be okay. There will be other birthdays to celebrate.

Two years later as we moved away from that neighborhood in San Jose, the skid marks still remained on that stretch of Camden Avenue, just like I imagined they would always remain in my heart. My daughter may have no memory of her crossing against traffic that February afternoon thanks to the traumatic brain injury she sustained that day, but I knew that I would never forget. The skid marks did fade away and they were, I imagine, paved over. The last time I was in San Jose and drove down that street I did not see any evidence of where that accident took place except for the traffic signal  that is now in place to allow for pedestrian traffic to cross at Camden Avenue and Merrill Drive. Some of the horrible details are indeed faded away in my memory. Thank goodness that they are because later this week I am so looking forward to celebrating my daughter's eighteenth birthday...nine years later.

This is an original 50-something Moms Blog post by Laura Scarborough of Adventures In Juggling