Three years ago yesterday I got stuck driving behind my mom in a freak blizzard that left us stranded for almost 4 hours. We called each other every 15 minutes, commiserating our terrible luck and wondering where on earth the highway patrol was. I took some random pictures of myself out of sheer boredom, and may or may not have found some creative ways to relieve my very full and newly pregnant bladder, but that's a story for a different day. There were times during those 4 hours that I couldn't look out or open my windows for the thick ice crusting them closed. People were getting desperate and creating new lanes and advancing chaos, trying to get around other cars that were immobile or moving slowly and as a result, sliding off the road and getting stuck themselves. Poetic justice, no? The wind gusted so hard it rocked my heavy SUV back and forth, the blowing snow obscuring my line of sight, reducing visibility to only a few feet. The tailgate of my dad's white truck was camouflaged in all this cold hustle, and all I could see were the tail lights glowing through the icy dark. But I knew my mom was right there in front of me. I knew I'd be just fine as long as I could see her, as long as I could follow her, as long as she stayed close to me. We inched ahead, foot by foot, and finally mile by mile, until eventually, I followed my Connie out of that rabbit hole and into calmer skies. The storm had concentrated all of it's anger and spite on one 5 mile stretch of road. Once we passed through it, we were free and clear with only a light snow falling to remind us of what where we'd just been. She turned left into my Grandma's driveway, and I continued on down to my Paul, our warm little townhouse, a hot shower, and a trip to Hawaii.
Fast forward to this weekend. On Friday night the chills started. I was sewing a baby blanket for my new, soon-to-arrive-next-month niece whose baby shower was the following morning. Soon my fingers were numb and shaking and I was finishing up while layered in sweatpants, socks, a long sleeved shirt and Paul's sherpa lined hoodie. I took a hot shower to warm up, but as soon as I turned the water off the tell-tale goose bumps returned. I layered a heavy denim quilt on top of our down comforter and crawled in for the night. A few hours later Paul got up with the baby, came back to bed only to hear my teeth chattering and feel my body quake with shivers trying to get warm. I was sick. The rest of that miserable night was spent hunched over a heating pad, and alternating between throwing off my layers cloaked in sweat and clutching them back on, chilled to the very bone.
Saturday wasn't much different, I stayed home from the shower I was supposed to be co-hosting and parked it in bed. Paul wrangled the Nub and baby Fat Fat who wasn't feeling so good himself, refusing to nap, congested terribly, and protesting his general unhappiness rather loudly. I'm afraid I was quite useless to the situation. Dosed up on ibuprofen, I perked up enough to venture to the doctor at one point, and out for egg drop soup, only to be told it was something viral and nothing could be done. Once home and back in bed, the cold shakes set in yet again.
That night at 8 pm, I fever-drunk texted my mom that we might need reinforcements the next day. She texted me back and said she would pack up and get on the road. I wanted to protest and say we'd be alright. I hated the thought of her driving through the deer and elk infested roads and down dangerous Highway 6 through Spanish Fork Canyon especially at night, but I didn't say anything other than "thanks Mom, please drive safe". I wanted her there. Two hours later the calvary had arrived (safely thank goodness) in the form of Connie and her overnight bag. My sick baby was passed off into her care, Paul fell exhausted into bed next to me.
We were saved.
She left this afternoon, me feeling much better and the baby sleeping in hourly measured increments once again. He's still stuffy and somewhat warm, but we are both none too worse for the wear.
I think about those tail lights and that storm, I think about following my mother through that blinding snow and I know it deep and hard as much as I did that night three years ago, as long as I stay close to my Connie, as long as I can see her and keep her near, I will always be just fine. Mothers are there for the rescue, even when we are grown and mothers ourselves. The call and answer will always exist in some form, and for that knowledge and assurance I am eternally grateful.