Monday, November 8, 2010


This weekend I had the occasion to go to Target, just Oscar and I,which almost never happens.  It was as straight up and down errand run - toilet paper, paper towels, the like.  Not a very exciting trip for Oscar, nor for me since I couldn't really browse the clearance because he is three and has no patience for deals, but it was fun because he and I were having a good time, just the two of us.

We had many, many moments during this trip.  I was filled with patience and Oscar was filled with good humor.  One moment Oscar declared himself a police officer and I declared myself his captain and we referred to each other quite ridiculously has Officer Gibson and Captain Mommy throughout the trip.

There was another moment when I helped him pick out two choice Hot Wheels cars, one for him and one for Miles.  I also let him choose a candy bar in the check out line because he was just so stellar and because we had another stop to make.  He chose a Kit Kat and then came the moment when informed me he had no plans to share.

It was a Saturday afternoon to Target was packed.  We had to park in what I consider the axillary parking lot, which is a smallish lot to the right of the store, as opposed to the main lot in front of the store.  For several moments Oscar and I were walking to the auxiliary lot and chatting.  He was in the kid seat part of the cart and the back of the cart was filled with gigantic packages of paper products.

We navigated around to the side of the store, over to the crosswalk, where I paused for a moment, looking both ways.  No car coming on my left; a gray taxi cab coming on my right.

"Look, mom!  A gray taxi cab! Why is it gray?  Why is it at the store?  Why is it stopping?"

The cab slowed as it approached the crosswalk and waved me on.

"Some people don't own cars so they take taxis to the store.  It is stopping so we can cross the street.  This is a crosswalk.  The cars have to wait for us while we cross," I explained in the moment when we started across the street.

And then, I guess the car coming up behind the taxi cab decided he did not want to wait the 30 seconds for us to cross the street and he went around the taxi cab and came within about two inches from hitting my shopping cart.  The shopping cart carrying my child.

I think my heart may have jumped clear out of my throat in that moment as I imagined what nearly happened, what was inches away from happening.  My shopping cart getting clipped by a car easily going 25 miles per hour; the cart being ripped from my hands and flipping over and over; Oscar being thrown from the cart, under the cart, under the car; Oscar screams or lack of screams (which would be worse?); the blood; his pain; my helplessness.

Of course Oscar was untouched and absolutely fine, and so was I if you don't include the years that incident scared of my life.  It was just a moment in my life, a moment that I've had a million times, that all parents have had a million times.  A moment of what ifs that makes you realize how much of life is up to chance and that sometimes bad things happen and parents are powerless to stop them.  A moment that fills you with terror.  A moment that you push through so you can get back to the real moments where bad things are not happening and you are calmly pushing your shopping cart through a crosswalk and answering your three-year-olds questions about why some people don't have cars and the difference between taking a taxi and a bus.


Keely said...

Ugh. I hate those moments, they somehow taint the better ones. I hope it didn't shave TOO many years off your life.

Denny P 3 said...

I have those moments all of the time. I sometimes have these really bad visions of bad things happening to my kids. I think I have them because I am mostly powerless to stop them. It scares the heck out of me, and shaves years from my life as well. I always push them away and realize that I have to enjoy every moment I have with my kids. Life happens too fast. I hope you gave the driver of the rampaging car a really dirty look and perhaps some bad vibes for the rest of the day.

Sprite's Keeper said...

Sometimes it only takes a moment.
I'm glad you were able to get back to the good.

jpooh said...

I know it's no consolation, but the moments never stop. They don't come as frequently, but they never stop. I had many of them when Darling Daughter moved to Las Vegas and her primary mode of transportation was a Vespa motor scooter, which she was driving from downtown to North Las Vegas - at night - several times a week (they have a car now, thank goodness).

I'll have many of them in the coming months as The Young One learns to drive. I'll many more when actually gets his license and I'll no longer be in the front seat with him every time he gets behind the wheel.

Hell, I still have them from time to time about Oldest Son; I woke not too long ago from a bugger of a nightmare where he was hit by a bus while crossing the street. There's nothing like instant messaging your 27-year-old son at 1 a.m. to make sure he hasn't been hit by a bus...


Andrea said...

I got chills reading that. I can see it so clearly. How many of us have had that moment? I'm so glad you and Oscar didn't even have a scratch. Makes me want to go hug my own kids just because I can.

Susanica said...

That's really scary Jenni. And believe you me. I know all about imagining what could have been. Seems lately that there is a theme to your posts about people not waiting as they should. What's up with the world? -Monica

JessicaP said...

People are assholes and can't drive. I almost get hit in three places everday walking from the parking garage to the front door at work. Every time I go out with Brody I make him hold my hand 'so I don't get lost/hit' because he doesn't look and just runs around like a crazy thing.
My dad always said, 'Never trust a turn signal.' I don't but I also don't trust a crosswalk, four way stop, green light, etc.
I am so glad you guys weren't hurt and I'm sure that asshole will get what's coming to him.

Casey said...

Eeek, people are assholes. In such a hurry that they almost run down a mom and kid to shave two seconds off of their drive.

The outing sounded fun otherwise. I have been digging alone time with Graham (he stopped napping) where we can play and imagine and just have fun. Although naptime was glorious too.

Stimey said...

That is so terrifying. When Sam was only a few months old, I had a similar experience when I was crossing a street and a car turned into the wrong lane without looking and while going to way too fast and almost took out Sam's stroller. It was terrifying.

I am so glad everyone is okay.