Chocolate Milk in a Wine Glass

Thoughts from The Limbo Years

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Am I a kid or a grown-up?

My grandparents organized a family outing for last August. They wanted to take one final camping trip as a family before I, the youngest grandchild, went off to college. The focus of this camping trip was to come together with the family, but conversation often steered toward how I was feeling knowing I'd be leaving for college in a few weeks. There were constant and often conflicting forecasts to the changes and challenges I'd encounter in my first few months living away from home. I did my best to put on a brave face and take their comments with the love and care they were given with, but I honestly was really freaked out by everything.

I took a much needed break from my family's questions and concerns and headed up to the shower house. I was rinsing off my tooth brush when a web of red hair caught my eye. A young girl of 5 or 6 walked into the bathroom and struggled to reach for the handles at the sink beside me. I asked her if she would like me to turn on the sink for her, she looked up at me and nodded. I stepped over and twisted the handle and stepped back in front of my sink- but her gaze didn't leave my face; she even didn't wet her hands under the running water. "Is it too warm?" I asked, trying to diagnose her confused stare. She just blinked her wide eyes at me. I smiled awkwardly and started to pack up my bag.

"Are you a kid or a grown-up?" she finally asked. I couldn't help but chuckle at her question, it seemed silly to me; obviously i am a- hmm. My smiling mouth, ready to respond suddenly fell into the same confusion she wore all over her face.

From her expression, I knew "I don't know" wouldn't sate her curiosity, "Well, I'm going to be moving out of my parents house in a few weeks, but I'll still rely on them for all sorts of things. Does that sound like a kid or an adult to you?"

She broke her quizzical stare, shrugged, and began washing her hands. I silently finished packing my bag. She toddled over to the paper towel dispenser (which she was tall enough for) and I turned off her sink. We left the bathroom and she left me to rejoin her family who had been waiting outside.

Bits and Pieces 6: At Fault

On Waiting for My Owl

I'm beginning to feel like somewhat of a car crash magnet. I've totaled three cars in three years, thankfully with no one seriously injured in any of the incidents. I was not at fault in the first two wrecks, but a couple days ago, I caused the third crash.

I was coming home with the kiddos from my grandma's house in Mt. Vernon. Traveling on Route 3 is quite the roller coaster ride. Lots of hills and twists. But I've traveled that road so often, it's become familiar. I was cresting a hill, and there were two cars waiting to turn left in front of me. I didn't notice that they were completely stopped until it was too late. I slammed on the brakes, and tried to slide into the large gravel driveway on the left (the one the two cars ahead of me were headed to), but the first car started turning as I was crossing the other lane and I hit the back left side of her car, most likely at about 50 mph.

My kids were taking their much needed nap in their car seats when we collided. They woke with wails and tears, not understanding what they had just been through. For about 10 seconds after the crash, my brain was kind of fuzzy and I tried to gather myself. Trying to take in the reality around me without becoming overwhelmed at the possibilities that may have been caused by it. Trying to decide what the next best step was. My arms were spotted with an orange dust from the air bag. I noticed the familiar tingle of a seat belt burn on the left side of my chest as I had the same feeling three years before in my first crash. I wiggled the key out of the ignition as I looked over the rest of my body with relief. I dug my phone out from under the rubble it had slid under at the foot of the passenger's seat, unclicked my seat belt, and rushed to check out my little ones.

I got the kids out of the car, hoping that being able to snuggle me would help calm them down. They didn't have any signs of injury except some red irritations where their harnesses had been. At this point, people from other cars were already out asking if they could help and if we were ok. We sat down on the bank in front of a farm house, the only house I could see. The rest of the scenery was fields and woods. I explained to Noah and Hope what had happened and asked them if they were hurting anywhere. Just as they were starting to calm down, a light breeze came through and Hope yelled, "I'm Coooold!", clambered onto my lap and sobbed into my neck. Noah was just staring at our broken car in front of us, trying to take it all in.

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