Wednesday, March 9, 2011

window opportunities


Sometimes I'm able to pull myself back far enough to be able to see most of the whole picture: me and my life and my family and how we fit together. When I'm that far away, I like what I see. It's a peaceful view, and gives me the opportunity to read these posts as if they were written by someone else.

She seems like a decent person.

Which isn't to say that I am, but I try to be.

Alice fell out of a grocery cart the other day. It was not my finest moment in parenting, hopped up on some cold medicine and feeling blurry and weird. She was standing at the bow of the cart shouting directives to the shopping masses when the cart wheels stumbled on something on the floor, causing a lurch. Then this in slow motion: Alice's face twirling up and out of the cart's confines, her mouth an O of shocked surprise, the black of her Converse All-Stars a smudge on my vision. Luckily, luckily, luckily--- she landed mostly on hands and knees, though she did bang her head and scratched her cheek. I sat on the floor of Joann's holding my crying girl for ten minutes. I rocked and whispered the words mothers do.

Chip calls these things Window Opportunities, when we know full well what we should be doing and we do something else instead. The window opportunity comes when the full-scale apocolyptic cataclysm is somehow sidelined and we are left with only a few cuts and bruises, and a reminder to do the right thing, every time. Like not letting her play by an open window. Or making her sit in the cart seat even though she hates it with a fiery passion.

So it goes.

Have you had any brushes with death that you'd care to share? Let's commiserate for Wednesday, shall we?


Anonymous said...

I watched a child, maybe 18 months at most, tumble out of the cart by her completely oblivious father. I was half an aisle away and the slow motion horror of it was heart stopping. I cannot imagine having to witness this with your own child (the father never saw a thing and wasn't all that concerned).

I love the term "window opportunities".

Melanie Condie said...

Alexis fell out of the cart at Sam's Club once. Nothing I did would calm her down. Unfortunately the closest thing to distract her from screaming was a GIANT, I mean 4 feet long, stuffed animal baby chick. She loved the chick and it made her stop crying immediately, so we ended up leaving the store with the giant chick. I couldn't bring myself to put it back after she had slimed it with tears and boogies. Definitely my worst parenting moment ever. I can only imagine what the other shoppers were thinking.

Jayme said...

You'd think with 7 kids I'd have learned after the first time a kid got dumped out of a cart, but we've had a couple of those incidents.

The first one- we had O in a infant carrier on the seat part and E in the cart. He was sitting, being good, but on the way out to the car we hit a pothole with the cart and it went over. Yep, injured two kids with one cart.

The second time, Lili was sitting in the seat, so a toddler- and one of the boys climbed on the side of the cart trying to reach something inside and pulled the whole thing over.

Aaron tells me Dylan did a flip out of the cart when he stopped short while I was away last week.

Alicia said...

So, apparently, these cart mishaps are common. I have managed to avoid them somehow. The only thing I can remember happening is something like running over a foot after multiple reminders to stay away from the wheels.

Archer and I were almost in a car accident about 30 minutes ago. It wasn't really a window opportunity because I couldn't have done anything, and it wouldn't have been my fault, but it shook me up. It happened really fast, and there were about 8 cars involved, so it's hard to say what happened, but my recollection is that the person in the lane to the left of me and up about 2 car lengths shifted into my lane really quickly to avoid hitting a parked car. I had to slam on my brakes not to hit him, and the car behind me swerved and had to slam on his brakes not to hit me. The car on my left hit the car in front of it. It wasn't a bad accident, but you know the feeling... all shaky and like you're not sure what happened. When I heard the screeching brakes of the car behind me, I just kept thinking, "Don't hit Archer." Which is funny because I'm usually more self absorbed. Ha. And also, we were both on the side of the car opposite where the guy would have hit us after he swerved.

It's weird how time slows down in those moments.

angelalois said...

almost closed my child in the trunk yesterday. so yea, know how you feel. so sad.