I wasn’t always afraid to drive in the snow. It’s something that started when I was pregnant with baby
number one and has never subsided – pregnant or not. A few years ago, when I was expecting number three, I had a major project due at at work on the same morning we woke up to a snowfall that had started over night. School was canceled for the kids, but I had to be at work to finish this job. My sister-in-law trekked over, sliding all over the place, to watch our children. When she arrived, I begrudgingly bundled up and headed out the door.
The more I thought about it, the more I was convinced that my ginormous Ford Expedition would end up sliding off the road and I’d end up killing myself and others, too. In my head, I was hearing the news story about how my drive would end up. I was willing to drive 2mph the entire way as long as it meant that I’d be there safe. Unfortunately, I couldn’t even do that. As soon as I reached the top of our neighborhood, I decided to go back home, even if it meant losing my job. I didn’t care. I drove about half a mile down to find a safe turn around spot. By the time I reached the entrance of our neighborhood again, I was having a full-blown anxiety attack. One of the biggest I can remember. I turned left out of the straight lane. People were honking at me. I was feeling very faint and I couldn’t think clearly at all. As I pulled down our street, I saw our daughter standing in our yard and the big Ford Expy started sliding all over the road. I couldn’t stop it. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t react. All I could think about was her running out into the road as I was sliding about. I was completely paralyzed by something that likely was in my head. It took me two hours to recuperate. And, yes, I finished the project at home and kept my job.
Ever since then, I’ve sworn off driving in the snow. Fast-forward to this morning. At the beginning of the school year, I volunteered to be a driver for our oldest daughter’s field trip. She was so excited to have me come along and when we woke up this morning – though it’s October and pretty much unseasonable – the snow was coming down. So, not only did I have to drive our children to school in these conditions – I also had to drive other people’s children – which piled on the anxiety. I was a nervous wreck as soon as I saw the radar. I was hoping the trip would be canceled, so I called the school before I left the house. The trip was on; I was panicking.
I KNEW that I had to do it. I knew that succumbing to fear was the wrong thing to do. So, I loaded up the kids and we drove. As we pulled down the same road where I’d had the major anxiety attack before, my heart started racing. I felt my throat tightening. I could hardly swallow my Luna Bar for goodness sakes (those aren’t clean, by the way). My wipers were going full-speed; I was driving slow and shusshing the children at even the slightest sound.
Then, this song pops into my head and I start to sing the chorus over and over again.