When shock happens

Yesterday my daughter fell off her bike in to the road. As she did, a bus stopped about 20 cm behind her.

Yes, it was one of those horrible moments you dread happening.😱

I usually ride behind her but on this last stretch before our house, I go ahead in case of any fast traffic approaching on the corner.

It was an unusually tricky one yesterday afternoon. Cars parked on our side of the road, oncoming cars slowing to a halt to allow traffic behind us to pass. 

With all the bustle, I pulled up on to the pavement so that we could stop and dismount there before crossing over to our house.

I came to a halt and turned, only to see little one wobble on the edge of the kerb and topple over. 

Behind her a large, green, double decker.

I screamed her name.

She looked up at me from the road. She was trying to push her bike back up, all the while seemingly oblivious to the bus.

I threw down my bike, ran and scooped her up in my arms. 

I squeezed her tight, my face buried in her head. ‘Oh my god! Oh my god!’ on repeat. 

She pushed me back, and looked at me with a scowl,

‘You’re not meant to say that!’

‘I know. Sorry! I was so worried about you!’

At which point she looked at her bike, clocked the bus and promptly took off her glasses and threw them on the road.

I have never been so grateful to see a pair of broken glasses!!

I got the bike off the road, mouthed ‘are you okay?’ to the the bus driver. Then ‘thank you’ when he eventually nodded. Bless him for driving carefully.🙏🏼

Pema Chodron writes in her book Practicing Peace In Times of War how, when we experience a shock or something unpleasant happens, just before our habitual response kicks in, there is an open space. The opportunity to live peacefully lies in pausing, taking a simple breath and embracing that open space.

I knew in that moment I had a choice. I could blame my daughter for not concentrating. I could blame myself for not following better road practice. I could blame my husband for raising her saddle. I could blame the roads department for the wet leaves on the pavement. You get the idea.

Instead, I got us home, got out the special chocolate chip cookies, and rescheduled our trip to the vet’s. Half an hour later we headed back out to the opticians to get the glasses sorted, then came back and watched a feel good Christmas movie.

Yes, later I replayed events to my husband. Yes I wept. Yes I got defensive when he made suggestions about better cycling.. But you know what? In those moments right after it happened, I fell too – even more in love with my darling daughter.❤️

Next time a shock happens, let’s see if we can interrupt the machinery and catch a glimpse of that wide open space.

Let’s flourish together!

Arlene x

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