When the phone rings, I glance at the clock. 3:26 AM.
First, annoyance, as I struggle out of sleep. Then fear. Good phone calls don't come in the middle of the night.
"Mom, it's me."
"Stacy? Where are you?"
"I'm in the ER. I was a passenger in a car and someone broadsided us."
Dread. Worry. I almost don't want to know the answer to the next question.
"Are you all right?"
"I'll be OK, but my chest hurts. I think I broke a rib, and I can't move my leg."
Concern. Unease. Apprehension.
"I'll be right there. What hospital are you in?"
"Well, you can't leave home because you have Ava."
Confusion. Maybe I'm still not awake.
"What do you mean? Isn't Tara here?"
"No, she's with me."
Things aren't making sense.
"Why? Did you already call her?"
"No. Mom...Tara was the driver."
My heart lurches.
"Is she OK?" I think I scream, but my voice sounds normal.
"Yeah, I think so. She hurt her arm and she's bleeding from the glass, but I think she's OK."
"They're taking me for a CAT scan. I'll call you back."
I finally reach one of the doctors in the ER. Things are worse than Stacy led me to believe. She has a collapsed lung, 3 broken ribs, a broken leg, a concussion, maybe a cracked pelvis. They're still evaluating her injuries.
Shock. Panic. Heartache.
I get someone to watch the baby so I can be with Stacy. I just want to see her, touch her, hold her.
I want to make it all better. I want this to be a boo-boo I can kiss away.
Helplessness. Sorrow. Concern.
I spend the day in the ER going from one bed to the other, while the doctors debate whether Stacy should be in intensive care. They decide that she can go to a regular room if they put her close to the nurse's station so that her chest tube can be monitored. Tara can go home.
Now comes a wave of anger. At the world, at God, at Tara.
It's all I can do not to yell at Tara while driving her home, but I know that she feels worse than I could ever make her feel. I just want to know how she could have been so careless.
Stress. Distress. Anxiety.
My mind is still trying to wrap itself around all of this. I suppose it could have been far worse, and I tell myself I should be thankful that both girls are alive. I am, I truly am.
So now we go forward. We can only take this road one step at a time.