Friday, February 10, 2012

Horrifying experience

Yesterday I experienced something horrifying.  Not nearly so horrifying as it could have been, but bad enough for me.  Enough to truly piss me off as a mother.

When Charlie and I play outside in the front yard, he loves to run and be chased.  The way our yard is set up, we have two trees that he loves to run around.  One of them is about 10 feet from the road.  So in the process of making the run around the tree, there is about 5 seconds where he always looks like he's headed straight for the road before making the turn.  I am so blessed that he's never run into the road yet.  He always turns.  Or he always stops short a couple feet from the edge of the yard, because Mama has drilled it into his head to do so.  Really, he is so good about this, I admit to letting my guard down a bit in this area.  (Not that I am not paying attention, but I generally don't have to be middle man between him and the road at all times.)

Yesterday I was standing at our porch steps while Charlie was making his usual dash towards and around the tree near the road.  I had looked down for a moment at my shoe and looked up to catch this picture.

My son "heading for the road" in his usual manner while running around the tree and a woman in some big SUV type car, driving the entire length of our yard, WITH HER HEAD DOWN STARING AT HER PHONE.  I watched horrified, as there was that moment where, had Charlie deviated from his normal routine and continued to head into the road, this woman would have in fact run over him.  I was absolutely terrified for that moment in time before seeing Charlie make his usual left hand turn and seeing the woman leave the perimeter of our yard.

Then my horror turned to absolute RAGE.  How DARE this woman be so engrossed in her phone that she was driving while not looking where she was going?  How DARE a text be so important that it requires a reply while driving?  How DARE she look down to find a contact to call in her phone, while taking her eyes off the road on a neighborhood street where there are children?

How DARE I judge because I know I have done the same thing.

I don't text, but I have been guilty of glancing downward to quickly find a contact to call.  I try not to do it often, but I know I've done it.  Have I had any narrow misses like this woman had yesterday?  I dare say with the large number of people talking and texting while driving, it's not a matter of "if" you had a narrow miss, it's a matter of "how many" narrow misses you may have had.  And. Never. Even. Known. It.

I don't judge this woman, because I am guilty of the same thing she is.  I have no doubt her remorse would have been severe had anything happened.  HOWEVER, I don't excuse this woman's actions.  And I genuinely hope that my moment of sheer terror as a mother, spurs me on to be safer about my phone habits while driving.

Be smart.  Be safe while driving.  You never know when there is an invisible little kid somewhere and a terrified mother standing just a bit too far out of reach.

Taken Christmas Day.
I love you little man.  I'm eternally grateful every day you are alive and in my life.

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