Monday, February 01, 2016

We're boss at denial but best at forget

Yesterday I got a text message from the kids' dad, telling me that they had been on their way to the mountains to ski, but that in the bad weather bearing down on Colorado right now, the car they were in (a friend's truck) lost traction and slid off the road into a big pile of snow.  He wanted to let me know that it had happened, but also to let me know that everyone was fine.  Apparently Zeke's remark was, "that was scary but kinda fun."

I feel like I should have been more freaked out.  But the truth is, I wasn't remotely fazed or worried by the news.  Partly because I trust their dad to keep them safe, and I know he wouldn't do anything to jeopardize their safety - and hell, I've had my car slide around on those snowy mountain roads.  It happens.  But more fundamentally, because I am convinced that the forces of the Universe - forces that I don't know that I actually believe in, mind you - would not allow something as awful as the death of another grandchild to happen to my family again. That after losing Emma, it can't happen to us again.  It can't happen to my parents, to me, to my brothers, to any of us. It simply cannot happen.

It is the worst kind of magical thinking.  There is no logic to it whatsoever, especially because I am deeply, deeply ambivalent about the existence of a god or higher power or anything like that.  Plus, that kind of faith in some level of universal fairness didn't apply to Emma in any event, given that she was killed in a car crash four years after almost being killed in a car crash.  So I already know that it's bullshit.  The Universe doesn't give a fuck about fairness or justice.  My own experience makes my magical thinking more absurd than it already is, and I know it.

But nonetheless, every time I have been in the slightest bit of perceived danger, whether from icy roads, wicked turbulence, whatever, I'll have a moment of fear and then think, "no, it can't happen.  Everything will be fine."  "This plane won't crash if the children and I are on it.  Because it can't happen to my family."

Not that it shouldn't, or that it would be sad or unfair.  It can't.  It's an impossibility.

This insanity doesn't actually affect my behavior, which is the important thing.  I still put my kids in booster seats and make them buckle their seatbelts.  I drive carefully.  I make them wear helmets when they ski. I protect them as much as I should.

But I don't worry as much because in my mind, nothing bad can ever happen to them.  Which I guess isn't so terrible.  Whatever gets you through the night.

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