Thursday, April 15, 2010

Wake Up Call

Having worked nights for the past nine years, I have become accustomed to being jarred awake on numerous occasions as my daytime life collides with my 3rd shift life. Being the father of three daughters, it is generally one of their faces I see as I am violently ripped from a deep REM state. "Dad, the bus never came." "Dad, there's a bug in the house." " Dad, Jillian just threw up everywhere."
The sound of my cell phone ringing dragged me from the murky depths of sleep yesterday. I was planning on riding with a group of friends @ 9:30am, so I thought this was one of my fellow cyclists, calling to bail or to cajole me into getting my ass up to ride. Instead, it was my wife calling. Wait. Today is Wednesday. She is off on Wednesdays. Its 7:30am. Why the hell would she be calling me from upstairs in our house?
She was not home. She was on the road. She spoke in a concise, measured tone the phrase no parent wants to hear: "Gene, I need you to get up, get dressed and come downtown. Kaitlin has been in an accident. She's okay, I am on my way there as well, don't know all the details yet."
After a angst filled ten minute trip, I arrived at the scene. It was easy to spot, the sparkling blue lights of several police cars marking the area. Kaitlin, her mom and a police officer were huddled around Kaitlin's car, much in the way a NASCAR driver and his crew chief would be, examining the car after a wreck, deciding whether or not they could get the car repaired and back out on the track. Pulling into the parking lot alongside them, I got my first look at the car.
We were not getting back on the track with that puppy. She was done.
The car did what it was supposed to. Both air bags deployed, and the front end crumpled, absorbing the impact of the crash. Kaitlin was okay. Thank God. It was not her fault, the other driver turned right in front of her.
Seeing your own flesh and blood standing next to her destroyed car, shivering and crying, has a profound way of making you realize what is important in life. Weekly mileage, cadence, carbon, training logs and cue sheets, power bars, gu's etc., are suddenly insignificant.
Needless to say, I did not ride yesterday. I am not riding today. I WILL ride Friday.
Yesterday is now a blur of paperwork and phone calls, trips to Enterprise car rental and a trip to the salvage yard to pay our final respects to Kate's 1997 Saturn. ( and also to remove the massive amount of crap she had stored in that car!)
So we are now in the hunt for another car for Kaitlin. I am tooling around in a rented KIA, due to the fact that Kaitlin is too young to put the rental car in her name. So guess who is driving my car?........ Exactly.
I woke up on my own today. Made some coffee, sat at the computer and caught up on things. I was reading my friend John's post on FB about potty training his daughter when I suddenly realized I was crying. My God, where does the time go??? I remember when body fluid maintenance was the number one (no pun intended) issue in our house. It is true what they say: Time does fly by. As a parent, you will always be cleaning up messes, whether it be that wayward turd on the carpet or that auto insurance bill. It's what we do. They're our children.
So for every mile you ride or minute you train, be sure to spend an equal amount of time with the people you really care about. The clock is ticking.........
Kaitlin is okay. Thank God.
And I am riding tomorrow.
Then I am going to Starbucks with my daughters.


1 comment:

  1. And don't forget about the making of the homemade bread. After you have mixed in the standard ingredients, added some familial recipe secrets, and folded in the little extra special items that make it incomparable, you then slowly and lovingly lift your hands away. You're done. The dough is now set to rise. On it's own. And you, mi amigo, iz one damn good cook!