Monday, August 5, 2013

Taking the Bullet

Taking the Bullet - Parentunplugged - Stacy Snyder - girls scootering
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Taking the Bullet

My kids amaze me every day. From the funny little things they say to the habits they develop that have no origin from their parents, they continuously expose tidbits of themselves to me that serve as indicators of the persons they are growing into. Sometimes they bare all and show me and the world who they are already.

Our annual family road trip took us south to Atlanta this summer where we visited family. We had brought the girls' scooters to break the monotony between long hours sitting sedentary in the car and as a mode of transportation once we hit each destination.

On a trip to the pool located 2 steep blocks away, the adults walked and the kids rode their scooters, bubbling with excitement about both swimming with their their Uncle Tom and the return ride home, which involved a huge hill for them to soar down on their two wheels, which they had each rode the day before.

After enjoying hours of swim races and hand-stand competitions in the late-afternoon sun, my 9-year-old lead the way down the sharp decline of a street that pointed her toward home. Uncle Tom, demonstrating practicality after witnessing the fast speeds of the previous day's downhill scootering, ran to the bottom of the hill to await her descent. With the wind whipping through her hair, she made it to the bottom unscathed.

As my 4-year-old considered the trek down the hill, a wave of doubt hit her, causing fear. We told her she didn't have to zip straight down the hill, but could take it slow using her brake or could walk with us. A daredevil at heart, she chose speed over caution and timidly pushed off.

Two-thirds of the way down the hill, she lost her flip flop, her wearing them while scootering serving as a dazzling example in itself of why I am Mother of the Year, and it scared her. Not thinking about the brake, as she more often used the bottom of her shoe to slow herself down, she put the shoeless foot down to the pavement to slow her roll. I'm guessing the pain of scraping her bare foot on the ground while cruising at an ungodly speed, freaked her out further and she started to lose her balance and swerved madly side to side.

Viewing all this from way behind, it didn't look too dire of a situation, but the view was clearly different from the base of the hill, where my older daughter stepped into the line of fire with purpose and planted herself directly in the path of my screaming little daughter and her runaway scooter. I imagined her chanting "He ain't heavy, he's my brother" as she stood her ground toward the oncoming collision.

Whether it be instinct, reflex, or intention, my younger daughter laid herself down a foot before she crashed head-on into my older daughter, skidding numerous sections of once-healthy skin on raw pavement. The scooter itself kept going and nailed my eldest in the leg with intense force, causing a huge red egg to grow on her shin. Both girls were shocked into a brief silence before the horror screams made their way out of their mouths and eventually wafted up the hill of which I was now running down.

What initially seemed like a bloodbath of mangled limbs and hot asphalt to Uncle Tom, who made it first to the scene to scoop her up and carry her like a limp rag doll across both of his outstretched arms while running to the house, ultimately amounted to a half dozen cases of road rash on knees, elbows, arms, legs, and feet.

While the wounds each girl sustained from the crash were superficial, the 'I'll take a bullet for you' devotion they have for one another is a quality that has been etched into the core of their beings since the birth of my youngest daughter. I've always been aware of it, but to see it played out so viscerally, is awe-inducing.

When I finally reached by older daughter, sobbing alone, at the bottom of the hill, I slowed down long enough to ask her if she was okay.

"My leg's hurt but please go check on my little sister. I tried to stop her but she's hurt!"

When I caught up with Uncle Tom and my littlest bambino, who was shrieking as if she'd been stabbed repeatedly, I was able to divert her attention from the blood long enough for her to ask, "Where's Sissy?"

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