In the course of our normal weekday, we were on our way to drop off Calvin at Kindergarten about 1/2 hour ago. The boys had fought me over getting warm duds on, as usual. It had taken about 20 minutes to get everyone properly outfitted for the cold, snowy day. I had already hit the breaking point, and had yelled at them for not being cooperative.

I was trying to fasten Kiki into her stroller, but with my gloves on, the laws of physics were against me, and I barely refrained from letting loose a long string of profanity. It took another few minutes to get her buckled in, just long enough for the boys to run down the street to the intersection. I have tried my best to instill in my children the importance of checking traffic before proceeding to cross the street. They are usually very good at it, and I am usually standing next to them. This time, there were a couple of cars coming, and the boys dutifully waited. I was about 20 feet behind them now, and starting to turn down my worry gauge.

My little Zeebie, impulsive, not always obedient, and only 3 1/2, suddenly made a break for it, just as I saw a gargantuan black SUV approach the intersection.

As my heart stopped, and an unfamiliar sound escaped my throat, Zeeb heard me scream and tried to stop, but got confused and tried to keep going and turn around at the same time. The truck, which had been driving pretty slowly, stopped about 4 feet from my baby boy.

I ran to him, he ran to me. I picked him up and moved him from the street, where I felt the world cave in around me. I didn’t fall down, but I felt like I would. Never have I sobbed so loud in public. I shook so hard I gave myself an asthma attack in the 30 degree air.

For a split second, I debated going back home and skipping school for the day, but somewhere in the recesses of my consciousness, reason won out. We kept walking the three blocks to the school. I sobbed the entire way, pausing only to chastise my middle child, ask him why he ran into the road when he clearly saw the approaching truck, and to cough hard enough to make me gag.

When we got to school, the truck was there. The driver was the father of two of Calvin’s classmates, his only two friends, twins. He had waited for us to arrive.

He got out of the truck and approached me. I’ve never spoken to him, though we wait for our children in the same place every day. He asked if I was OK, and gave me a hug. He said he was still shaking. He said he had seen my boys on the curb, and had slowed down and moved to the other side of the road, just in case. He must have had his foot already on the brake.

My darling little boy has no concept of what happened, nor really why I reacted so strongly. When we got home, he grabbed his buggy (his nasty old blanket that he sucks his thumb with) and went to have a nap in my bed.