Nan reminded herself to breath as she pulled away in the pickup. Through many years of life experience, she knew that this was the type of day where one needed to try to stay calm.
She did not feel that she had done very well at that in her encounter with Charlie and his–no, the dog. Yet that situation had taken her by surprise. She realized she had probably sounded rude–she definitely had felt rude–yet there were many upsetting things about what had happened.
But with Tom, things were slightly different. For one thing, she knew to expect the unexpected with him. She had been dealing with one surprise after another with him ever since he was born. She may not have received a call exactly like this–her daughter sounding so concerned, a trip to the emergency room–but she had been dealing with the unknown with him for a long time.
Today would be no different. She would show up at the hospital, and do what needed to be done. Nan felt quite capable in such situations. She liked taking charge, or making things better for others. Had she and Stevie compared notes, they would have found they had a lot in common: they both had a need to feel important.
And in Nan’s case, she had a strong need to matter to those she loved. When her daughter called, sounding confused and upset, she felt needed. This was a time to show up for her family, something Nan had been doing for decades as a mother.
As she drove, Nan mused over the unfolding circumstances. She did not like the dog situation. It irritated her that Charlie had been so clueless about what needed to happen. It irritated her that he had taken a liking to the dog. She didn’t mind him wanting a dog, but she did mind him having a dog while he rented her house!
Never mind that, Nan, she came to. Tom needs you. Family needs you.
And with this, she pulled up to Baldwin hospital, to check on her twenty-seven year old son, who had been born with autism and had now apparently injured himself while playing on his favorite thing in all the world: the family boat.