A sobering start to our day. Just as everyone was struggling out of bed (well, I was struggling out of bed, the boys were bouncing around full of the joys of a brand new day with far too much energy for my ever so slightly feeling the effects of a glass of wine too many the previous evening head) we heard shouts coming from the road outside. I looked out of the window and realised that a woman had been hit by a car. People were running to help, the driver of the car was out of his car looking shocked and slightly hysterical. An ambulance arrived in minutes, closely followed by the police and she was whisked off to the hospital, to be treated for a broken shoulder and leg. The police remained for several hours carefully photographing all aspects of the accident, circling relevant marks with chalk, placing numbered placards everywhere and interviewing witnesses.
As it turns out, she was walking to work and had just stepped off the pavement, into the path of the car. The car had not been travelling fast, there was no screeching to a halt, no skid marks on the road. She was lucky, we might live in a residential area, but the road by our house is surprisingly smooth and cars drive up it at an inappropriate speed. This being a residential area there are always children playing on the road somewhere. It is one of the things that I love about living here. The kids are outside, making up games with chalk on the road, drawing out elaborate courts for games to play with bottle tops. The girls are often to be seen with long pieces of elastic stretched between themselves playing elaborate games that the boys look at with confusion, as if the girls are practicing an advanced form of black magic. The boys go up and down on their bikes practicing wheelies and trying to look cool. It is exactly how children ought to be spending their time. It is exactly how I would want my kids to be spending their time when they are a few years older.
But this accident has really shaken me up. I grew up in London, so am no stranger to cars travelling too fast on the roads. But at least in London the pavements are wide enough to walk on. Here, the pavement which this woman stepped off is narrow, gravelled and difficult to walk along. Whenever I try to walk along it, I normally end up stepping off it and walking on the road. And I usually have 2 small children, a couple of scooters, some shopping and a dog to try and keep under control whilst I do so. The other day, I took my eye off Luke for all of 1 second and he ran across the road for no reason whatsoever. This is the first time he had ever done something like that. Usually he is pretty road aware, but for some reason this time, he simply took off. There was a car coming as well, fortunately travelling slowly and paying attention, so was able to give the rampaging 2 year old plenty of room.
I keep thinking of this woman, who was just walking to work one Thursday morning and who ended up in hospital with some fairly serious and very painful injuries. And all I can think is There, but for the grace of God, go I. And I draw my boys in towards me, kiss their heads and hold them tight.