The Mom Alarm: It works long range, and it’s never turned off

I probably should call it the “parent alarm,” since I know plenty of dads who have it too (I’ve been married to two of them). It comes as a free gift with the arrival of your first child, it’s always turned on and it works at any distance, and you don’t even realize it’s been installed until the first time it goes off. After nearly 25 years, mine is still functioning quite well.

-2 I spent an hour last Monday afternoon trying to locate my son. Since I live on the other side of the country and three time zones away from him, that can be tricky under ordinary circumstances. But since I was trying to find out whether he’d been involved in a train accident, it was particularly urgent and unsettling.

I saw the first mention in an e-mail: there had been a major crash in Washington, DC involving two commuter trains on the Red Line. I live three thousand miles away from DC, but my son, who will be 25 next month, has called the District home for two years. He works in Maryland, and he doesn’t own a car; he makes his daily commute on the Red Line.

Like any well-connected desk jockey, I got online to seek out more news. I couldn’t get much useful info right away, and much of what I found was streaming video; I wanted print bulletins. But when I discovered that the accident had occurred just around 5 PM local time – prime commuting hour – the story became personal. And when I attempted to call my son’s cell phone and couldn’t get through, the personal became just a bit frantic. And when the mom got a bit frantic, she got on Twitter: “DC Metro crash – trying to get info. My son commutes on the Red Line.” Twitter is starting to make a place for itself in the breaking-news realm, and people were posting updates and links as quickly as they could obtain them.

When people are transmitting the news to one another, the personal aspect of the story seems so much clearer.

Read the rest of this story on the Los Angeles Moms Blog (but since the accident happened a week ago and I haven’t mentioned it here until now, you can probably guess the outcome…).

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  1. I can imagine how you felt. My son is a student at Virginia Tech and it took me hours to get hold of him on the day of their shootings 2 years ago. I was on the verge of panic until I got hold of him.

  2. Kathy (Bermudaonion) – I remember your post about that on the anniversary of the shootings this year. The anxiety of needing to know if your kids are safe, and being unable to find out…I think most parents can imagine it, but those who have been there know just what it feels like.

  3. B&B's Mommy – And I learned a bit about the DC Metro rail system, too :-). But I'm bery glad this was just a scare.

  4. Twitter does have its practical uses! I am glad your son wasn't involved with the train collision. I can only imagine the worry you must have felt while not knowing.

  5. Wendy (Literary Feline) – It was quite unsettling. I'm glad I had Twitter folks who knew the train route and could reassure me until I actually got in touch with him!