I try not to think about the "what ifs?" in life. It seems like a waste of time to me. You can't change the past, so what's the point?
But once in a while, something happens that stops me in my tracks.
It was a hot, sunny afternoon. A mother took her child to the park. They played for a while on the playground and when it was time to go, they walked past a baseball field to get to the car. There was a game going on and kids were "warming up" near the street. They were throwing balls back and forth, stretching, and getting ready to play.
The child waved to the ball players as he walked past. He would have stopped and watched, but his mother was gripping his other hand and pulling him toward the car.
The mother opened the car door and told her son to climb inside. Reluctantly, he did. He still wanted to watch the ball players. She strapped him into his car seat and gave him a juice box.
Suddenly, there was a loud *BANG*. A ball had been hit in their direction and bounced off the roof of the car. It had skimmed the top of the mother's head.
Holding her head, she looked around. Nobody was paying attention. Nobody was coming after the ball, which was now rolling into the center of the street.
Shaking a little, the mother checked to make sure her son was okay, and then got into the car and they drove away.
Yes, this happened. Derek and I went to the park while Tyler was at wrestling practice this past Monday and a ball hit our car.
I don't care about the car. And my head is just fine.
It's the "what ifs" that have been plaguing me.
What if the ball had hit me directly, instead of the car?
Would I have been knocked unconscious? Would anyone have noticed? Would they have come to my aid? Would Derek have started screaming? Or would he have gotten out and chased after the ball in the street?
OR (even worse)
What if I hadn't gotten Derek into the car yet? What if the ball had hit him?
I know I shouldn't think about the "what ifs." They didn't happen. Derek and I are just fine. But I try to be prepared for most scenarios. I have to think about what could happen next. Autism doesn't take a day off now and then. That's why I was gripping Derek's hand. I knew he'd chase a ball into the street if I didn't. I know my son. I know what he'll attempt to do if I'm not vigilant.
Obviously, it's not possible to be prepared for everything.
But for those of you who wonder why I perpetually seem like I'm on the verge of a panic attack? It is because of days like this. Life is exhausting when you have a child that doesn't understand danger. I have enough trouble dealing with the issues I can (kind of) predict--the darting into streets, the talking to strangers, the meltdowns, the bullying, and even the possibility of him wandering/drowning. Throw in the added stuff I have no control over? Like baseballs flying at my head?
Derek and I might have to start wearing football helmets to the park.