When Running Isn’t Going to Fix It

I am completely wrecked. It’s been a hell of a week for a mom. I skipped my run Thursday so I could hold tight to my little girl since I couldn’t hold on to my son. But we are lucky, because we can hold him tight in just a few short weeks. Today, there is a mother that can’t.

This emotional roller coaster I’m on began Saturday night when we got “the phone call” at 12:30 at night. An ambulance had been called. Alex was heading to the emergency room.

More specifically, my college-aged son was heading to the emergency room after passing out after the LSU football game. But before assumptions are made, I will skip to the end of this part of the story, he had picked up a stomach virus and had been in the heat all day, in a band uniform, performing until midnight and he had thrown up all night in the stands and gotten so dehydrated that he passed out at the end of the game.

It’s easy to jump to conclusions because we have all heard the stories and many of us went to college and “might” remember what it was like.

Being far away from him and having so little information on how he was doing was the worst feeling ever. We are forever grateful for the band friends that stayed in the hospital with him ALL NIGHT and then took him back to their apartment when he was released just to keep an eye on him so he wouldn’t be alone. It was hell to race Sunday morning when sick with worry. I remember yelling out to Sean when I went out for the run, asking if he had gotten a phone call from Alex. He hadn’t. I spent three very long miles dreaming up every manner of scenario, none of them good. By the time I finished the race, however, Alex had called and actually talked to Sean and said he was ok, just very sick.

So I hid all the crazy, because nobody needs to see that.

But I worry all of the time. I worry when he is out on his long bike rides if he will get hit by someone who doesn’t care about his life and how amazing it is and will be. I worry about whether I did all that I could to help him make good choices and have a solid moral compass. I worry about whether I raised him to have enough confidence in himself to be able to say “no” when he isn’t comfortable with something.

And then Thursday happened.

It began so harmlessly as a message posted on the parent’s facebook group page – “Has anyone heard what is going on with the Phi Delta house? There are police everywhere.” Well, you’re dog gone right that very first thing I did was call my son. He texted back – “how did you know about that?”

It was like the stories you read from “other schools.” An 18-year-old fraternity boy dies Wednesday night in an alleged hazing incident. I’ll be honest, it rocked me hard. I can’t even imagine receiving that phone call. And I can’t imagine being a parent that receives the phone call that her son’s actions caused the death of someone else. But there I was, in the middle of a conference, and I was numb. It wouldn’t be ok until I heard my son’s voice and reinforced the same statement, ‘I hope I raised you to have the self-confidence to say no or walk away from a situation you’re not comfortable with.’ So, I couldn’t help but put myself in that poor mother’s shoes. The last post she made personally in the parent’s page was a photo of her hugging her son so tight a month ago, right after she moved him in. It’s the same smile that I had a month ago, that smile of “I’m so proud of you and can’t wait to see all the great things you do.” But there is always that air of sadness in mom’s eyes of allowing them to leave the nest. The worry that we didn’t do enough. I’m sad and I’m angry. I’m so stunned. There is a mother that didn’t imagine yesterday when she woke up that she would be driving to Louisiana one final time. The plans they made are forever changed. And I just can’t seem to reconcile it in my head.

So, I skipped my run, because no amount of running would take my mind off the fact that I have five more weeks before I can go hug my Tiger again. And poor Emma got the brunt of it. I held her so tight I’m sure she thought I was smothering her. I couldn’t hug Alex, so I hugged her enough for both of them. And we sat in bed and watched cartoons, without a shred of guilt for missing that run.

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