You know those moments when something other that you- normal, functioning, everyday you – takes over your body and before you know it you are doing something you had no intention of doing? Something you didn’t even know you were going to do?
I had one last week.
As I drove to the mortgage-the-cat school to collect my child, I chanced to drive along the quiet back street shortcut lined with family homes. Past a very large child kicking a soccer ball across the road to his sister, who would throw it back. I could see them ahead along the straight stretch, so slowed to make sure he wasn’t going to do anything kid-like and kick his ball in front of my car.
He didn’t, but he did do something else. He very clearly yelled ‘hurry up woman’ as I drove past.
After collecting geek boy I head home the same way, and there is soccer kid again. As I drive closer I can feel little prickles running along my arms, fingers and toes – prickles I get when I think something is going to happen. As I slowed, I heard again “hurry up woman”.
I truly don’t know who that woman was that stopped her car in the middle of the street. I don’t know who that woman was that rolled down her window and gave soccer boy a finger pointing lecture about mouthing off at drivers, speed limits of 40 k an hour that are set to save lives such as his, and how-would-his-mother-feel-after-he-was-squashed-on-the-road because he had either infuriated someone with his yelling, or because he was jumping out in front of cars? I don’t know who that woman was that asked him whose fault it would be if he were squashed on the road beside his ball (to his credit, he did reply in a small voice ‘mine’- the only word I heard him say during my finger pointing tirade. Mind you, that woman wasn’t letting him get a word in edge-ways anyhow). As his sister fell about laughing that woman finished up her trouncing lecture with a sound ”watch yourself, kid” and drove off up the street leaving 3 kids open mouthed in her wake and 2 kids open mouthed in the back seat.
As I pulled in to my own driveway it struck me that *I* was that woman. I had no restraint or control over what I did, I just acted impulsively out of anger and concern and protectiveness and fully let out on this soccer ball kid. I turned to my son and said “Sorry about that. I am not sure why I did that, I hope I didn’t embarrass you”. ”No”, he shrugged, ”you did the right thing. It was pretty awesome, mum, you had your teacher voice on and your don’t mess with me right now voice on too and the kid should appreciate that someone was worried about where he was.”
I wonder if he’ll go inside and tell his mother” I mused.
“I was wondering that too!” said geek boy. “He should, he should tell her someone was worried about where he was and what he was doing. He should tell her he was being stupid”
I decided that was a lesson in itself for the day, (for both of us!) and nodded at my own child’s good grace and common sense.
Until he said “It’s not like in your day though mum, is it, when you could play on the road all you wanted and there were no such thing as cars around on the roads”…