Sometimes I feel like I really have damaged my kids. I tried to teach them, leading by example, to conquer their fears yesterday, but I realized to a greater extent the trauma that they felt last week by our little accident.
After we "recovered" from the icy slide down the mountain in our SUV, I had in my mind, decided to change piano teachers--to never go back up that mountain, never even call that teacher back. However, I was having a discussion with Emma over the weekend about facing our fears and not letting them run our lives in a way that would always direct us toward what was the safe or "easy way out". It really had to do with her desire for swimming and losing her brother. Ever since Chase died, she has not felt the same or had the same drive to swim and she is confused about what she is going to feel when the new baby comes because she really misses Chase and just wants him back. She's afraid to swim for her new little brother for fear of the unexpected. I told her if she didn't give swimming another chance and see how she felt about it, it was like running away from it. She asked me why I wasn't going back to our hospital here to have the new baby then, and I told her that was for specific reasons that we had in our control, like the level of medical care that we required and the risks involved with delivering at our small town hospital again. But I told her it would be like me never driving up a mountain road again after last week, or not ever going back to that piano teacher because I was too scared of driving up there. I told her that this was a really good piano teacher and just because of what happened on that icy road on that one day, we couldn't let that affect our decision to go back and give piano lessons another try. Of course as soon as I said it, I knew that I had to reschedule those lessons and head back up that mountain. *gulp*
So with this valuable lesson at hand, we headed back up that mountain yesterday for Emma's first piano lesson. I was prepared to use 4 wheel drive, and I was prepared to take a different route. What I wasn't prepared for, was the fear that ensued in my kids' eyes, the terror that made them tremble as we drove up that road again, the horrible thoughts going through their minds of sliding down the side of the road at any given time, despite, dry, paved-slash-gravel roads. And I have to say, seeing that road again, I was scared, too. So we stopped, turned around and headed up another route. Unfortunately, that route wasn't any better. The roads only got steeper and narrower and only went one way: UP. The kids got more scared the further I went. Karly was crying, Reese was wanting me to stop and Emma had her fingernails chewed down to nothing. Beings I was lost anyway, I turned around, drove back down the mountain and we started over. We parked at the bottom of the hill that we slid down, got out and walked. Reese was still worried that I didn't have enough room to safely get out of the care and wasn't convinced until he got out of the car and could see for himself. We walked up to the teacher's house and while Emma had her lessons, Karly, Reese and I entertained ourselves, mostly talking about how we were going to get back down from where we parked. This street, though maintained by the city, is at least a 30-35 degree incline, probably more because of the curve. And as I didn't have the smartest shoes on my feet, I still was at risk for falling on my bum, which would not have been good. So I told the kids I needed help and Reese grabbed my hand, tight, and said, "Don't worry mom, I will never let you go." Karly had my other hand and Emma was right there and we made it back to the car. Safe and sound. No accidents.
But this experience made me realize a little more precisely, the effect that last week had on the kids. A cop had warned us the trauma that it might have caused and suggested we talk to them each separately about it and their role in helping mom get out. And we did. But putting them through that yesterday, I felt guilty for causing their fears at the time. I still hope and pray that they will learn to conquer their fears and that maybe this will help teach that lesson a little bit. No matter how scary it is....as long as decisions are made soundly and in good judgement. We talk about it a lot. I hope they won't forget this the first time they get behind the wheel, especially if it is in mountain country. And maybe they will be a little more cautious, a little more brave, a little more responsible than if this had never happened to them.
Here are two pics of the car and what the ravine looked like. The car was already pulled out--we were stuck on the culvert at the time. I do want to show the road now, too, because it looks even more ominous without the snow. I will post that pic when I get it.