To the guy who flipped me off merging on to the toll road this morning,
I’m sorry that I wasn’t paying close attention to the merging lanes. You’d think after driving this route, this many times, that I’d know the lanes merge together immedeatly after we cross over the bypass. As we leave the hustle of the interstate and set-off on the open road of the, usually empty, toll road. I didn’t notice that you were in my blind spot and that our merging would cause you to have to slow your roll.
I did notice how you flipped me off, hit your steering wheel, and yelled something at me while you honked. It felt a little much, if you ask me, but I get it. You have places to be, and I merged without considering how that would affect your pedal to the metal acceleration. Actually, I have a kind and loving father who has no patience with other drivers shortcomings, so I know that good people can be terrible impatient behind the wheel (love you dad, but it’s true….)
I’m sorry I wasn’t paying close attention. My mind is all over the place. You see, I’m driving my kid to the hospital. We are going to have him lay in the fetal position on a hospital bed while his favorite doctor puts a 3” needle into his spinal column. We are going to take a sample of his spinal fluid and pray to God that the cancer isn’t back.
There is no excuse, I should be paying more attention to merging on to the toll road, ensuring you don’t have to barley let off the gas to make the merge happen smoothly, but my mind is elsewhere.
I’m thinking about 5 years ago this morning, as I drove panic stricken to the same hospital I’m taking my boy to today, only to find out that our sweet niece, Alana Ann, had died in transit. 5 years later, and the pain still feels crushing.
I’m thinking about how I need to text my brother in law to tell him I am thinking of him, and I’m realizing that 5 years later I still don’t have any words that feel worth saying.
I’m thinking about how foreign the hospital felt that day, and how familiar it feels today and how fiery hot my insides feel when I consider every moment in-between five years ago and this morning.
I’m thinking about how I told my cancer mom friend that I wasn’t too worried about today’s results since we had dates for Philly, a plan, a way forward, and she reminded me that with clear results we’d be that much closer to the coveted “6 months clear results” threshold that means everything and nothing. And after holding lightly to today for the last month, I’m suddenly gripping the wheel praying the prayers for clear results that I have been praying for the last 969 days.
I’m thinking about how I am fucking over praying survival prayers for Beau. How hard I prayed survival prayers for Alana.
I’m thinking about how energetic my son has been lately, waking up at 6am to watch Olympic events live and staying up way past dark to look for night crawlers that his Grampa promised him would surface after dark and how it can’t make any sense for someone so alive to be riddled with cancer.
I’m thinking about how Biden decided to close the borders indefinitely , disabling our au pair from obtaining a visa, which means our childcare solution for moving to Philadelphia is a real cluster.
I’m thinking about how my dad told me that my step-mom’s niece told him that “it must be so hard for Betsy, with three young kids.” And even though I have never met her, I felt seen in a way that made me want to yell into thin air, “Yes, See! See how hard this is! Just because I carry it, doesn’t mean it isn’t heavy!!!”
I’m thinking about how my middle child sobbed with jealousy that his brother got to borrow his iPad and get screen time at the hospital, even as I explained that he was having a complicated procedure and needed the distraction. Thinking about how I assured him his kindness was a good thing and wondered how much of his childhood would be marked by sacrifice for his sickly brother.
I’m thinking about the fact that we are not running late for the first time in months and that sometimes running late feels like my final cry of resistance.
I’m thinking about how badly I wish we were traveling anywhere but the hospital, road tripping like the 5th wheel we passed a couple miles back. Considering the honky tonk I’d play, turned up loud, while we stuffed our faces with fast-food burgers and milkshakes.
I imagine that these are all just excuses. Actually, I can picture my dad telling me that if I can’t drive safely I have no business driving or something fatherly that’s meant to ensure my safety. Perhaps you will think the same. You did seem rather angry after all.
But perhaps, perhaps you will consider all this thinking the next time someone merges on to a toll road and you have to let you foot off the gas for a split second. Perhaps instead of giving them the middle finger, you could just give them a wave over.
We are all thinking about a lot of things.