Being a parent is a job for life. I mean it’s a job from the moment your first child arrives and it lasts for as long as you have the consciousness, strength and life left to do it. Obviously, as your child grows into adulthood, you give them the space to live their lives whilst being there for them if and when required. Of course you still worry about them. You still care about them and you still love them.
But things happen. It’s a big bad world out there which is as dangerous for us as it is for our children. Let me tell you what happened on Saturday 30 June 2012.
My wife and I frequent the “Out of the Blue” art centre in Leith once or twice a month depending what’s on. They have a flea market there once a month and Saturday 30th was one of those days.
We wandered around the stalls looking for anything interesting and I managed to find a collection of cigarette cards which I thought might be sellable on Ebay. We usually have a roll each with egg and bacon , a coffee or a tea and a slice if cake and Saturday was no exception. The best bit about going however, is to people watch. The people watching is Premiere League and very enjoyable.
We left just after twelve and walked to B&Q to pick up a saw and some paint for a new fence project and then walked back to the car. Just as we reached the car my mob phone rang. I got it out and it showed it was my daughter calling. I answered it as normal but my daughter was extremely upset. She told me that my son had been in a bad car crash in York and had been taken to hospital. I’d have to go to York straight away. I said I’d call her back as soon as I got home.
Although the drive home took only a few minutes I felt numb. How badly was he hurt? Would he be okay? Would I even get there in time if he was really badly hurt?
As soon as I got home I got my phone out again to call my daughter and there was text from my son on it. It said he’d been in an accident and would I go to the hospital in York. That didn’t sound right. I tried calling his mobile but it didn’t even ring. My wife got on the Internet to get the phone number of the shop my son manages and I rang the shop to try to find out more information. The phone rang out the first time but thankfully the second try was answered. By my son.
He explained his phone had been stolen and whoever had it had sent out texts saying he had had an accident. My son had managed to get the account cancelled but not before the texts had been sent. Obviously I was very relieved. I called my daughter and passed on the real situation and then I called my Mother in case she’d also had the accident text.
All of this took 15 minutes. For most of those 15 minutes I was scared. Scared that I’d lost him. Scared that he would maybe be injured seriously enough for it to affect the rest of his life going forward.
My first thought was that I’d already lost a child who died at birth. It was incredibly difficult to get through. Could I go through it again?
Of course I would have done. We keep on going. We survive as best as we can. We cope and we hope.
For whoever sent those text messages and other unsavoury texts using my sons stolen mobile phone? Maybe it was just a joke to them. Maybe there was malice involved. Maybe they were too young to know what they were really doing.
I’m relieved that my son is okay. It changes nothing though. No doubt many, many people got texts or telephone calls saying a loved one and been injured on Saturday 30th June 2012. For some of them the news may have been what a parent fears most. The loss of a child. Gone forever. No chance to say goodbye.
For fifteen minutes I thought that was where I was.