Mama’s Little Jackass

I was washing something in the sink night before last as I readied dinner. I looked out the window over the sink, which overlooks our front yard, to see my 4 year-old son, astride the white trash car, barreling across the street. As it ran up the curve of the driveway opposite us, then onto the grass, Rollie was catapulted off the car, up into the air a good 3 feet above the car’s roof, coming down right on his ass, which was quite a drop considering the neighbor’s yard slopes from the top of their drive.

I ran out the door, knocking Tiller over as I came out into the garage, to see him stand up, bawling his eyes out, and scared shitless. That made two of us. I yelled at him to stay where he was, as I didn’t want him to run out in the street, and I was still running down the drive at this point. This was pointless, as four-year-olds who are frightened and want their mama are not deterred by things like having their skulls bashed in by oncoming traffic. No matter how I shrieked hysterically at him to stay where he was, he was coming towards me as fast as he could go, and there was no stopping him. He made it across without any problem and into my arms, sobbing uncontrollably, and doing the death grip cling to my neck that terrified kids do.

I am pretty sure I was yelling at him that he wasn’t allowed to go into the street and what the hell was he doing in the street? He was crying that Tiller had pushed him into the street (“I was pushed!”) and at that point Tiller rushed by me screaming, “my car! My car!” and she darted down the driveway towards the road, not looking either way for traffic, and me yelling my deepest, booming Mama’s-gonna-tear-up-your-behind-if-you-run-in-that-street voice, again, to no avail. I had to sprint, with Rollie still in my arms, his legs wrapped behind me so tight i could barely take a breath, and managed to snag her arm at the very end of the drive, at which point i realized, Rollie was not bleeding, swelling, broken, or bruised, and was simply really, really frightened. He was put down, still clinging to my neck as I pried his arms away, and gave her a swat on the behind.

Then both children were dragged up the drive by their arms, both fighting me and screaming their personal grief, “Tiller pushed me! Tiller Pushed me!!!!” and “My caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrr!!!!” and me still hysterically yelling at them: “Why were you in the street!!? You could have killed your brother, tiller. I don’t give a good Goddamn about that car! Y’all are never seeing that car again! You were supposed to be in the backyard with your father! Where is your Father??!” as Todd finally came around from the back, hearing the hollering match, and the screams and probably the absolute “she’s completely lost it” tone in my voice, which i admit I must have had.

Todd retrieved the car from the neighbor’s yard, and promptly put it in the back of the van. It will be finding a new home, pronto.

Tiller was sent to her room (Todd handled that one, because i was ready to put the shaken baby syndrome on her) and I took Rollie in and sat on the couch with him, checking him for injuries, and just generally hugging his guts out and getting the ful story. It seems Rollie and Tiller were supposed to be watching Daddy put bug spray in the yard, and standing by the gate until he finished. What really happened is that Rollie and Tiller started playing in the garage, and Rollie straddled the white trash car (which is what kids who are too big for the white trash car do when they outgrow it). This means that he was sitting on the roof of it, his legs dangling down to about the doors, but unable to touch the ground. Rollie evidently asked Tiller to push him around the garage and somehow she ended up pushing him into the driveway, which has a slope to it. White Trash Car picked up speed, with Rollie pulling a complete Johnny Knoxville on top of it, and went straight down the hill, across the street (which was where I picked up the visual), and into the neighbor’s yard, where he was launched like he was fired out of a cannon.

All I could think about when the initial adrenaline wore off, and when I started shaking, holding my baby on my lap, and crying my eyes out, was that:

a) The little fucker coulda been nailed by a car as he shot across the street and b) The little shithead wasn’t wearing a helmet and he’s lucky he hit the grass instead of shooting headfirst into the neighbor’s driveway, or one of their cars and becoming a vegetable for life.

I am one lucky mom, and the whole thing was such a fluke, pretty much not something you could prevent, or prepare for, or imagine happening. And it just reminds me that all this other crap is just that: Bullshit. We live these tenuous lives and every moment is one second before or after that car comes barreling down the street and takes the important things away. We’re all just one little jackass moment away from losing it all, no matter where we live, how beautiful we are, how great our jobs are, or whether we listen to cool music or american idol. The Jackass Moments in life do not differentiate.


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  4 comments for “Mama’s Little Jackass

  1. Steph Bachman
    May 21, 2008 at 9:11 pm

    OMG, I was laughing my ass off about Rollie jack-assing across the street on top of the car, but now I’m crying. So right. We are all one jackass moment from disaster. No helmet will protect from that.

  2. Dorothy Gould
    May 21, 2008 at 10:27 pm

    I had the same reaction as Steph, and you are so right. It can happen in a second, and you can never be prepared. Thank goodness you had the view of him from the window. Someday, a long time from now, this will seem funny, but right now it serves as a lesson for any of us with kids.

  3. Dogwood Girl
    May 22, 2008 at 12:20 am

    yeah, but I’m not sure what the lesson is. . . do i need to not even let them be in the garage (which is right off the kitchen!) by themselves for a minute? It was so completely out of my control.

    And yeah, one of these days, it will be funny. Right now it is the stuff of nightmares.

  4. Camille
    May 23, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    loved this post, anne. great writing, girl!

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