Thursday, May 8, 2008

Sometimes You Just Need a Car

I often wonder if my family could get along without our cars. We could conceivably go down to one car since my husband and I both work from home. The mini van doesn't get driven much anyway. Then a day like yesterday comes along. 

The boys wanted to go back up to the school to play on the playground after we got home from school. So they changed into shorts, we loaded a backpack with (reusable) water bottles and reading material for mom, hopped on our bikes, and pedaled off to the playground.

My reading material was unnecessary because there were four other moms up there already that I know, and we sat a picnic table chatting. Then came the scream. The one you know is from your child.

My eight year old had jumped off the swing and had a bad landing. Of course, my first response was what most good mom's response would be. "You're fine. Suck it up. Go back and play with your friends."

But he sat at the picnic bench and just laid his left hand on the table while he sobbed. After about 15 minutes it occurred to me that he really could be hurt. So I call my husband, "Can you please bring the van up to the school." I knew my son wouldn't be able to ride his bike home.

So hubby loads the bike and the kid in the van, my younger son and I hop on our bikes, and we all arrive at home. An hour later it was obvious. We needed to go to the hospital. Turns out, my son broke his arm.

And I wonder, if we didn't have a car, what would we do in an emergency? I'm sure one of the other mom's could have put my son's bike in the back of her car and driven him home. A neighbor could have driven us to the hospital, but that would have still been relying on a car. I suppose an ambulance could have come and gotten him (would they come for a broken arm?), but again, that would be relying on a vehicle and the resources of our town.

I am making great efforts to drive less. For me, someone who doesn't drive to work, it comes by cutting out little short trips. I  drive the kids the four blocks to school much less frequently than before. I make dinner from what is on hand instead of running to the store for the one or two ingredients for a dish that I'm in the mood for. The boys and I bike to their friends' houses. 

But, I'm not willing to give up a car completely. The mom in me needs to know that if there is an emergency, I can take care of my boys. And sometimes, you just need a car for that.
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