It came out of nowhere. Middle of the night darkness made it all the more surprising. This never happened before. Hannah and I had no time to think.
But let me set the scene. For the last year and a half, Hannah and I have spent Tuesdays with our grandsons Owen (3) and Max (18 months). Let me tell you, grandparenting is all it’s cracked up to be.
After driving an hour from our home on the coast of Maine, we arrive to Molly and Tip’s place in Chelmsford, a suburb of Boston. Lunching with the boys and Tip, we are soon off on one of our weekly adventures.
In warmer weather we go to local playgrounds and then to a nearby library. Last week with winter coming, we spent the afternoon at Imajine That, an indoor playground in a remodeled mill on the Merrimack River in nearby Lawrence, MA.
Today we begin at Wegman’s grocery store some 12 miles away in Burlington, MA. Wegman’s has it all for preschoolers. Lifting the boys into a grocery cart with two steering wheels, we arrive just before 3P to see the mechanical rooster come out of its “barn.” Both boys are enthralled, though Owen holds his ears.
At the back of the store, we all stare up at the model train that runs twelve feet above our heads. Later the gracious fish counter guy pulls out a lobster to show Owen and Max. Soon we are off to the bakery where the boys scarf down a chocolate chip cookie.
Then it’s the active indoor experience we all love – riding the escalators up and down. Four, five, six times. Back in the car, we are off to the Chelmsford Public Library where Max explores the book aisles with me in tow while Owen listens to a story on the computer and then another read by his Omi.
Once home around 530P it’s dinner time for Owen and Max. As an incentive for Owen to finish his fish, corn, and yogurt, Molly or Tip read a story during dinner time. Tonight it is Monster Needs a Party.
Then Hannah and I get to put the boys to bed. I take Max, change his diaper, and get him into his pajamas. I quasi-read a story to him, but soon he is more than ready for his crib. Hannah supports Owen brushing his teeth and reads another Monster story to him.
With the boys quickly fast asleep, Hannah and I red wine it with Molly and Tip, checking in on all our lives over the past week. Usually Hannah makes a dinner for us all, but tonight we feast on the humongous subs from Wegman’s. (So large that a third of one fills me up.)
By 9P we are on I-495 north heading for home. Usually I listen to Pandora (Richard Harris or Dionne Warwick) while Hannah naps. Tonight we both listen to a CD of Rev. Ogun Holder of Unity on the River (Amesbury, MA) that we were given when we visited that church for the first time just two days ago.
The Rev draws us both in and soon I’ve turned off I-95 onto Chases Pond Road where we live. Still listening, I turn on our Hyundai Elantra’s bright lights to better see up our quite dark and winding country road.
And then biggest buck I have ever seen darts across the road right in front of us; so close I can see his right eye. I brake quickly, but not so hard that we skid. I have no time to think; I just react. As you can imagine, the buck is gone in an instant.
Where I once might have gone to what could have happened tonight (playing the fear card), I just drive on another hundred yards more and turn left into our driveway. I am surprised I am not shaken as I once might have been.
Tonight I just think about what happened and it’s gratefulness that I feel.
Grateful that the buck didn’t die crushing our car. Grateful we can just go to bed without a major incident. Grateful for the blessing that is being in the lives of our grandsons, Owen and Max. Grateful for the friendship we have with Molly and Tip.
Not thinking in fear about what might have been, but being so very thankful.