“Get dressed. Kelly’s in the hospital. We have to go there now.” My husband, Brian, says as he’s closing his cell phone. I was confused; I must have been dreaming. It was 11:30 p.m. Our 15 year old was in South Beach for spring break with friends. She had to be OK. She was responsible. Right?
“Didn’t you hear me? We’ve gotta go. Now!”
I thought to myself, this is not a dream. I could tell by Brian’s tone that he was scared. Something was really wrong with Kelly. “What happened to her?” I asked. He explained that Mr. Potter called to say Kelly is extremely intoxicated, and they are on their way to the hospital, just to be on the safe side.
“Hospital? Safe side? Oh, my God! Is she … going to be Ok?” I said aloud, wiping a tear from my cheek.
“I don’t know. Just get up. We’ve gotta go now.”
I dressed quickly as Brian woke up our six year old, Julie. About 15 minutes after Mr. Potter’s phone call, the three of us were in the car racing toward South Beach.
Brian recounted his earlier conversation with Kelly. “I told her not to drink, not to do anything stupid. What the hell was she thinking?” He looked over at me as we stopped for the traffic light and kissed my hand. “I hope our baby is Ok,” he said.
For the next three hours, our conversation would seem like a repeating loop. Both of us wondering why she would do something stupid like this, and then in the next breath praying for her safety…. probably, so we could “kill” her when we saw her.
Finally, we arrive at the hospital. “There it is,” I said, “there’s the emergency room entrance. Park over there.” I picked up Julie, and the three of us walked into the ER door not really knowing what to expect. We were greeted at the reception counter, and directed to go around the corner through the double doors.
Over and over in my head, I’m praying again. “Dear God, please let my baby be OK.” Brian walked ahead of us and made it through the double doors first. My feet felt heavy; I walked slower. I could feel my heart beating faster, and faster. Tears forming in my eyes.
As soon as the double doors opened, I could hear what sounded like Kelly crying. Hysterical at the site of her father, Kelly pleaded “Oh, daddy, I’m so sorry. Please don’t be mad at me,” and she continued by promising never to drink again.
She was clearly a wreck: barefoot, mismatched clothes; her freshly-bleached-blonde ponytail was half up and half down. Black mascara stained her sunburned face. Remorseful, she sobbed uncontrollably for at least 10-15 minutes. Repeating that she would never drink again.
I stood back for a moment, trying not cry. Not sure what to feel first. I was overcome by emotions– relief, happiness, and then anger. How could she have done this? Look at all of the lives she’s disrupted with her poor choices, not only ours, but the Potter family’s, too.
I finally moved closer to Kelly, and hugged her tightly. Yes, I was grateful that my baby was OK. Thank you God. But, now, I was feeling anger, again. How could she do this?