What if?

by Linda Carmical

Kids. They’re a work in progress. They’re going to be careless. Sometimes you just want to shake some sense into them. (Not literally, but you know what I mean.)


Image Credit: Flickr ArnoooImage Credit: Flickr Arnooo

This past year has been a truly trying one for me. There’s been anger, hurt, aggravation, disappointment beyond disappointment, terror beyond any terror I’ve ever known, and so much heartache I thought the anguish was squeezing the life right out of my heart. Through it all, it’s been why did I let this happen? Why would I put myself through this? Why did I give in to my heart and let myself believe he loves me? Why did I take a chance? Why would I be so mean to myself and let this happen?

Life is odd and many times there are no answers. We just don’t find them. People resolve to, “God works in mysterious ways.”, and I’m a true believer of this. He does. Though, I’ll admit I still to this day haven’t figured out why my baby girl was taken from me. I don’t know if that comes from the anguish of a mother who can never find a good reason, but I know there’s one out there. I could have already passed by the reason and my heart refused to see it. I don’t know.

Ok, on to the point of this post.

As I sat on my sister’s porch this lovely early afternoon day, I decided today is the day I’m going to force myself on everyone that goes down this sidewalk! I thought it’d be fun to have some crazy lady strike up a conversation they had no desire to spend time with, interrupt their day, their little journey through this little town. So my simple minded fun began.

1st Victim: Kid next door (who has avoided the old lady on the porch at all cost it seems. LOL)

Me: That’s a nice dog.

Kid: Thanks

Conversation could have ended there, but I’m on my “nope, you ain’t getting away that easy” mission.

Me: Is that a Pit Bull? (I knew it wasn’t.)

Kid: No he’s a Boxer. (kid turns his back and starts to walk away)

Me: What’s his name?

Kid: Marmaduke

Ok, this fun’s over with this kid. I’ve gotten all the aggravation fun out of him I want.

Victim 2: Old lady on a bike. She rides by here everyday and my sister has told me she’s a mean one, so perfect!

Me: Wish I had a bike! I’d be out there right along with you!

Old lady: Stopped her bike. (Surprised me.) Yep, I ride down the bike trail too. It’s real nice.

Me: (This old lady has flipped the game on me. What’s this? She stopped? LOL, what now?) I bet it’s nice! I see you out here every day and I’m so jealous!

Old lady: Yep, I ride 7 miles. Sometimes 6 on the bike trail, it’s real nice.

Me: That’s awesome! But I’m sure it must be nice to ride on, you know smooth side walks? (Really stretching it now to take my game back. Ain’t no old lady gonna change the rules!)

Old lady: Yes, but the bike trails are real nice and I can go faster. (LOL faster? She’s an old lady! My first thought is, “That’s dangerous old lady!”) Yes, let me see. I’ve fallen 3 times on the sidewalks. (Starts looking around the area to remember where and why.) My wheel got caught in a crack and then there was another time, and I fell in the sand one time. (Old lady won the game.)

Me: Oh no! That’s awful! You have to be careful!

Old lady: Yes, good thing is I didn’t break nothing. That’s the good thing.

Me: Yeah! I don’t want you to fall and hurt yourself! Please be careful! (Old lady slam dunked me on that one.)

Old lady: Well, I better get going. Nice talking to you.

Me: Nice talking to you too. Be careful!

Well that’s just great God. You flipped it on me! In my face with that one! Nice one! You got me! (Who says a lesson can’t come from God getting his giggle on?)

As the old lady rolls down the sidewalk, here comes 4 very young boys on their bikes heading right for her.

1st boy: I’m going to cross over so I don’t run into this old lady!

2nd boy: Says nothing.
3rd boy: Says nothing.
4th boy: Says nothing.

Note: 30 minutes or so prior I was sitting on the front porch enjoying my first cup of coffee and people watching. These same 4 boy went by, the 1st boy and oldest running and the younger 3 following their leader on their bikes. The 1st boy looked at traffic to be sure it was clear for him. The 2nd and 3rd boys kinda checked, but not good enough for the mother in me as my head started to do that “are you kidding me?”  nod. And the 4th boy? He didn’t even look to see if there were any cars coming! Now the mom head was just disgusted and nodding like a crazy woman! What if a car had been coming?! I was scolding that boy so bad in my head! Started thinking, “I need to find where this kid lives and tell his parents, “he trusts that if it’s ok for his buddies to take off across this VERY BUSY MAIN ROAD through this little rinky dinky town, it’s safe.”, and tell them how I know.  But, I’m not from here so I had no idea where to take my complaint. So, I resolved to calling my mom and griping to her about it instead.

Now as I sat on the porch enjoying my “smarty pants” game that old lady flipped on me, here come the boys.

1st boy: Flies past me and looks at traffic. Must have thought, “I can beat that car!” and zooms on across to the other side.

Me: Dammit! Their gonna follow!

2nd and 3rd boys: Must have seen the car and took the right route over the side street (WITHOUT LOOKING TOO! but thankfully no car coming up to the stop sign.) and on down the sidewalk the rolled.

4th boy: He passes by me. Fast. His bike left the sidewalk and was on the side street. I knew it! He’s gonna follow boy #1! AND WITHOUT LOOKING! Just assuming it’s safe! He turned his bike to cross with the car no more than 3 car lengths away. I jumped up and yelled loud! “WATCH THE CAR!” and boy #4 yanked his handle bars to the left hard, turned his head back toward me (almost hit the front of the parked car that blinded his view of that car coming up the road) and as I saw his eyes that car passed along side him. It was that close.

I sat on the porch. Feeling sick to my stomach. My heart was racing. I was so thankful. What if I hadn’t been playing my stupid little “let me see who I can aggravate for fun today!” game. What if I hadn’t been sitting on the porch. What if I hadn’t stopped the old lady? What if I hadn’t been people watching? What if I was pouring another cup of coffee? What if I hadn’t been “on mom guard”? What if?!

There was no time for that boy to change what would have been his fate, the driver’s fate, the other 3 boys fate, and his parent’s fate. No time. None.

After I called my mom I was still so stirred up over this I called my daughter. During our conversation she told me one of Joey’s sister’s friends (Joey is Steph’s boyfriend) has her 15 yr old son laying in a hospital bed for two days now brain dead.

Steph: From what they have pieced together about his accident; he was on his bike, didn’t look and was hit by a car on his left side.

My thought immediately went to, “The same side as boy #4. ”

Steph: Mom, are you crying?

Me: No. (crying quietly) I can feel his mom’s 1st moment. My heart hurts for her. I can feel her 2nd moment of hurt. I can feel her heart. I feel so bad for her.

For some who may read this, you know I lost a baby girl when she was one day short of her 7 week old birthday. So I’m sure it goes without saying how important it is to me that no mom (or dad) ever know that moment of the darkest excruciation ever known. There is NO other like it. I would do anything to prevent it for them.

And now I say this.

“Thank you God for all the pain, misery, disappointment, terror, heartache, struggles, and all I’ve complained about and asked you to help me change for months now. Thank you for putting me on the porch being my smarty pants self. I know now, you had a job for me. Game well played.”

I’m not overly religious, and I would never refer to myself as a “bible preaching saint”. But I am a believer, I have my own relationship I share with God, and I’ll get mad at you if you offend that. It’s not perfect because I know I should pay more attention to him. But, that’s my own thing and I’ve been trying to do better.

I’m sharing this story with you not to include you as a victim of my smarty pants game. But because it’s not often we know in our heart of hearts God has spoken to us and answered the big “Why?” question. And I’m as sure as I am typing these words right now, he did this very thing for me today.

Talk to your kids today. Remind them they CANNOT trust their buddies judgement. Their buddies are only judging for themselves. It could save their life.
Bike Safety Resources:
Safe Kids Worldwide
Indiana University

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

N Phoenix July 6, 2014 at 4:50 pm

Ha! I do the same! I people watch too and it only teaches me more on how to discipline my kids, especially with safety.


Linda Carmical
Twitter: DoFoodBetter
July 6, 2014 at 4:54 pm

I’m feeling like the “Mom Police” sitting out on that porch!


OneUniqueQueen July 6, 2014 at 11:53 pm

I sometimes feel like I want to play the “let me see who I can aggravate for fun today!” game too but never actually done it with total strangers. Always to my family though. On the other hand, I’m glad that my husband and I teach our daughter that she don’t need to be a “follower” and do everything that her friends are doing. We’ve taught her that if she knows it’s wrong or if it feels wrong in her gut to not do it. And she knows that whenever you cross the street or step into the street she needs to look both ways to see if there are any cars coming.
OneUniqueQueen recently posted..VoilaVe 100% Organic Argan Oil Review


Linda Carmical
Twitter: DoFoodBetter
July 7, 2014 at 12:43 am

I can be quite a smarty pants, but all in fun. I just couldn’t stand it any more. All these people going right by me daily and not saying a word made me crazy! So I did what any smarty pants would. LOL


Crystal Green July 8, 2014 at 7:28 pm

I gave up my first daughter to her father and stepmother when she was 7 years old because of a VERY LONG list of reasons some of which I can’t express in public, and it hurt worse than any pain I’ve ever endured. I still hurt from it. However, I still know she’s alive and growing and thriving. For me I still have hope of seeing her again one day, if she decides to come find me.

However, in your shoes, I can’t imagine feeling or enduring what you have gone through. I know your pain is double what mine is. My heart breaks for you on one hand, but on the other hand my heart rejoices for you because if you have faith as strong as it appears you do in this post, then I know you will be reunited with your daughter in heaven. Then you will have the answers you’re seeking and longing for.

(By the way, you visited our family blog-Simply Experienced Life- and left a comment on my Mother-in-Law’s post.)
Crystal Green recently posted..Ragamuffin Review and Giveaway


Linda Carmical
Twitter: DoFoodBetter
July 16, 2014 at 2:34 pm

Thank you Crystal for your kind words, it’s very sweet of you. I’m very sorry your situation forced you to go to such measures, I know it was and is hard for you. Have faith that one day she will come to find you, then you can build a beautiful, happy relationship with your daughter. 🙂


aimee fauci July 16, 2014 at 5:12 pm

I love striking up and having strangers randomly strike up conversations. My girls are not bike riders.. which is good and bad.. I have to continue to remind them to look both ways when crossing the street.


Linda Carmical
Twitter: DoFoodBetter
July 16, 2014 at 9:45 pm

Can’t tell ’em enough! Kids are kids and they get easily distracted. Better to drill it in them. 🙂


Robin (Masshole Mommy) July 16, 2014 at 6:13 pm

My six year old is off in la-la land half the time and I work hard with him to get him to focus and pay attention. Like, he will wander off in a parking lot just skipping & day dreaming and if I don’t watch him -no one will.


Linda Carmical
Twitter: DoFoodBetter
July 16, 2014 at 9:47 pm

So true Robin! They have so much going on in their little heads, being cautious seems to have no room in there!


Amanda Love July 16, 2014 at 7:45 pm

You were totally meant to be there people watching. It was God’s way of saving that little boy. I’ve never people watched really but maybe I should start.
Amanda Love recently posted..Welcome to Colorado’s Renaissance Festival


Linda Carmical
Twitter: DoFoodBetter
July 16, 2014 at 9:48 pm

I so agree with you Amanda! I felt like I was supposed to be there at that very moment, like it was my job and I was on it! I shudder when I think of what would have happened.


Marielle Altenor July 17, 2014 at 12:25 am

Thank you for sharing this with us today.You were put there for a reason! As a parent I don’t want to imagine what it would be like to not have my baby with me. My heart goes out to you.
Marielle Altenor recently posted..Organic Green Tea Powder Review + Giveaway.


Katherine G from La La Land Mommy July 17, 2014 at 9:39 am

I am so glad you shared your story. Thank goodness you saved that young man’s life. Who knows what could have happened if you hadn’t been. You shared a very powerful message. Thank you for sharing.
Katherine G from La La Land Mommy recently posted..Family Fun with Big G Cereal Movies


Tiffany Steadman-Collins July 17, 2014 at 12:38 pm

You know I always try to say hello or smile when I see someone as you just never know the difference you can make. Sometimes someone could be going by you and feeling pretty crumby but a simple smile and a wave can change that all around:)
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Carmen Perez July 17, 2014 at 1:16 pm

Thank God you were on the porch, you saved that boy’s life!


LifeAsAConvert July 17, 2014 at 1:43 pm

Wow that is intense. I am glad that he wasn’t hurt and that you warned him.
LifeAsAConvert recently posted..10 Reasons why I am Okay being Fat.


becca July 17, 2014 at 5:37 pm

I love to people watch I Learn so much about them and how they treat others.
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Pam July 17, 2014 at 5:53 pm

I love striking up conversations with strangers from time to time. Love how the old lady flipped that on you!


Amy D July 17, 2014 at 7:03 pm

First of all, I would like to send my deepest condolences to you. While I have no consoling words, I too believe in God. I am not perfect, but I have accepted Jesus as my personal savior. As a human we all have our times, and could never be perfect. Only Christ was perfect. God has big plans for you, and as you seen today he works in mysterious ways. He put you exactly where he needed you… 🙂
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Linda Carmical
Twitter: DoFoodBetter
July 20, 2014 at 7:03 pm

Thank you Amy D. I know God has a purpose for me, actually a whole bunch of them! That day, well it was a very important job he had for me. Makes me feel good he chose and trusted me for it. 🙂


Heather July 17, 2014 at 7:46 pm

LOL you are so funny! The old lady probably enjoys the conversation with all that quiet riding time 🙂
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Amber NElson July 17, 2014 at 8:33 pm

You were there at the right time, for sure. There is a reason for everything.
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veronica July 17, 2014 at 9:15 pm

It is great to get out a talk to people and get to interact with others. Some one out there just may need a friend


Krystal's Kitsch July 18, 2014 at 2:51 am

Thanks for sharing your story! Bike safety is so important, things can change in an instant.
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Onica {MommyFactor} July 18, 2014 at 5:21 am

Wow that’s really scary. Thankfully you were there. Sometimes kids can be in their own world and need us to pull them back to whats happening now.
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Rosey July 18, 2014 at 9:22 am

Definitely a God thing, for all of you. I blogged once about an incident in my SUV…we could have hit a boy on a bike. It was def. divine intervention.

I’m glad you were out on the porch.


Carly from The Puzzled Palate July 18, 2014 at 2:15 pm

The beginning of this post was so funny! I would do something like that. It is amazing that you were there to save that boy from running into the car! Close calls are no good.
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Gingermommy (@Gingermommy) July 18, 2014 at 8:21 pm

I have always taught my children to trust their gut and think for themselves. Very important life lesson
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Tough Cookie Mommy July 18, 2014 at 10:02 pm

You are absolutely right, communication is key when it comes to parenting. It is a great way to stay abreast of what is going on with your kids.
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amanda @attachedmoms July 18, 2014 at 10:05 pm

I am all about helmets and bike safety. It isn’t common here in India.


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