black ice


have you ever driven over black ice?

it sneaks up on you

as you drive blithely along

thinking you’re safe

because you’re sure you’ve done everything right

your gas tank is full

the car is well maintained

your seat belt is fastened

your children are buckled into their car seats

you hover just below the speed limit

looking out for the dangers

that you think you might find along the road


but you don’t see black ice

you can’t prepare for it

you have no idea it’s there until it’s too late

before you know it, you’re clutching the steering wheel for dear life

you can’t breathe

your heart feels like it will pound through your chest


the need for survival

eclipses the panic

your brain insists on rationality

you turn into the skid as you know you must

it’s counterintuitive

you squash every instinct you have to brake

your foot twitches above the pedal


but you can’t

because you didn’t make it go

all you can do is wait it out and hold on until it’s time to steer again

keep the emotion out of it

it has no place in a crisis

you will fall apart later

it’s not time for that yet

you watch the road

you strategize

you try to breathe

when the car finally stops – god willing just shy of the trees – you will fall apart

but not now

now you hold on

and pray

because it’s all about those beautiful babies in the back seat

and since there’s nothing else you can do to guide the car as it careens out of control

you change names

one by one

on a blog

because it’s the one thing that you CAN control

the one thing you can DO

to keep your children safe

and secure

and protected

it’s the one thing whose result is sure

because black ice

is as unpredictable as it is unforgiving

god willing, we will land just shy of the trees

23 thoughts on “black ice

  1. My hope for you is that you feel a sense of control very soon. Sometimes we have to reclaim our boundaries, and the transformation process is very healing. My hope is that some healing comes out of this for you. May you land not only clear of the trees, but in a softer place.

  2. Thought you might appreciate this post from another great blogger:

    It’s funny–I thought you post was headed someplace else with the Black Ice analogy. I think there’s a lot of black ice in parenting, and maybe more so in parenting a child on the spectrum (or a teenager?!). Thanks for the visual…it helps all of us to think in pictures….

  3. Unfortunately, life is filled with black ice. It really is the combination of luck,skills,love,and what you are made of, that lets you survive and actually suceed or fall victim to the ice.
    We all must face the skid at different times in our lives. It is what we do with it that determines the conclusion.
    I know you are made of special grit and you have extraordinary skills to do almost anything you want to do. You will achieve your dreams and so will those you love and who love you.

  4. I hope you are feeling a better sense of control after the name change. I read this post feeling a sense of dread…I hope everything is okay and everyone is safe. (and you enjoyed your vaca or are still enjoying it!)

  5. You can do anything in this life you decide to do, Jess. The black ice is a great metaphor for so many things in life. We all believe in you and know that somehow black ice will never stop you.

    With so much love,


  6. “all you can do is wait it out and hold on until it’s time to steer again” – keep telling yourself that again and again. i’m thinking of you.

  7. Have you been bothered so much from the outside from your previous blog? Has it been terribly intrusive? I’m so sorry you have been through this.

    • Oh not at all! The pressure to change the names is strictly internal – and I only mention that process here because it has offered a surprising sense of comfort and control at a difficult time when there’s very little of either in other aspects of my life.

  8. You are an inspiration, but you are also human. You can do it…you know why?? Because there is no other choice, we are everything to our babies. THIS is what keeps us going. I am keeping you in my prayers and sending a very big hug

  9. Sending thoughts of love and understanding your way. Sometimes, to just give in to the skid is what is demanded of us. Remember what my father used to tell me – ‘When you get caught sliding on the ice, turn your wheel in the direction of the slide and all will be well, don’t fight it and turn the wheel the other way.’ Sometimes a good metaphor for life. Wishing you well Jess.

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