This morning, I was doing laundry and I asked Thing Two to help me grab the towels out of the dryer.
He took one step into the laundry room, wrinkled his nose, and said, “What’s that smell?”
It smelled like natural gas.
I immediately went to get Thing One out of bed. I asked him to come and give it a sniff.
He took one step out of his bedroom and said, “That’s natural gas.”
We evacuated the house, taking only the necessities: my purse, the dog, my cell, and some fiery hot Cheetos (those were Thing One’s pick).
I knew not to call for help from inside the house.
I grabbed the emergency number, propped open the back door to ventilate the area, and we headed to the driveway through the front door.
The emergency workers for the gas company came out, found that the problem was a leaky value in my laundry room that might have gotten bumped. Replaced the valve, checked the meter, and went on their merry way.
When they left, I went in my room and sat trembling on my bed.
Certainly, we were fine.
Disaster had been averted.
Our home was safe.
But what made me shake was this thought: Thing One is 16, Thing Two is 13, and there is SO much I have left to teach them. What if they didn’t know not to use a phone from inside the house to call when concerned about a natural gas leak?
How many other things do they not know?
What if they don’t know that if your accelerator ever sticks, you should put the car in neutral (it’s preferable to blow up the engine, than to cause an accident that could kill someone)?
What if they don’t know to use low beams when driving in fog?
What if they don’t know how to scan a country road for a deer at night?
What if they don’t know how to remove a tick?
What if they don’t recognize the symptoms of meningitis?
And just before my anxiety took control of the entire day, my rational thought kicked in and said, “So, you teach them as you think of these things. And you trust that anything you forget to share, they’ll be smart enough to figure out.”