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

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