2006 was not a good year in most ways. In school, we worked straight through from January until Mid-December with very little break, putting in three full semesters in a period that should have had two. We were understaffed after Hurricane Katrina and everyone taught large classes, with overloads and without release time. Many of our friends had been fired.
In addition, both my son and I had bad wrecks. He totaled his car and I totaled my motorcycle. He broke his hand and I cracked some ribs and broke my shoulder in two places. This was actually the second time Josh broke his hand. The second break required only a cast, but the first time required surgery. The second worst moments of my adult life came when I had to sit in the waiting room while my son was under anesthesia.
Unfortunately, the worst moments in my life occurred a little later in this same year. As far as I knew, Josh was spending a night with a friend when Mary woke me from sleep with a phone call around 3:30 in the morning. The police had called her. Josh’s car had been found on Magazine Street in New Orleans, totaled in a collision with a parked car. Josh was nowhere to be found, although several young men had been seen leaving the scene of the accident. I hope none of you ever have to experience such stark terror, a terror compounded when Josh’s cell phone merely rang and rang and rang without an answer.
Josh was OK, except for the hand and a cut on his forehead, but we didn’t find this out until after noon of that day. It’s cliché, perhaps, but some part of me came very close to dying that day. I’m still not sure it survived; I still wake with my teeth grinding.
Fortunately for my sanity, the end of the year showed quite a bit of improvement. Lana and I moved into a new house, in the country, and even though we had a lot of problems initially with the air conditioning, water heater, wash machine, dishwasher, and a thousand more minor issues, by the end of October we had mostly dealt with the problems and could begin to enjoy a much more relaxed life among the trees and critters. Most importantly, Josh seemed to get his life together toward the end of the year and that has cut my stress level by 200 percent. Finally, we had a decent break over Christmas from school and I’ve gotten some of my energy back by catching up on sleep.
I used to look forward to new years and try to make plans. But experience has taught me that life will give me what it wants anyway and that my plans mean little. All I can do is try to work a little, try to rest a little, and love the ones who love me. That’ll have to do.