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Zen Mama Wannabe » Blog Archive » How to Fall off a Bike
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How to Fall off a Bike

Isn’t it amazing what we can read from watching body language?  As I pulled into a parking spot, I watched from a distance as a mom (out for what appeared to be a fun family outing) took a major wipeout on her bicycle.  Her front wheel must have hit something — it wobbled a bit and seemed to go in one direction while the rest of her bike went in the other.  Her body could only manage opposing forces for so long; seconds later she and her bike crashed in a big heap on the side of the bike path. 

I saw her daughter look back to see what made that loud noise.  Stopping quickly, she jumped off her bike and ran over to help her mom.  The dad and the son were on ahead (typical, eh) – by the time they noticed the rest of their group was not with them and rode back to the scene, the daughter had already gotten the bike off the mom and was hovering over her. 

From my vantage point, it looked like the mom was not seriously hurt – probably just her share of scrapes and scratches and what seemed to be a bloody knee.  She looked very shaken and upset — very full of emotion.  Soon those emotions bubbled over — because they always have to go somewhere, don't they?!  I couldn’t hear what her husband said to her, but I saw her react to him in anger when he reached out his hand to pull her up.  He obviously rose to the bait and yelled back at her – and I watched a nice family activity disintegrate in 10 seconds flat. 

I watched a now miserable woman get back on her bike (her husband had stormed off and was far ahead – the children put in the middle (pardon the pun) between them.  The son was peddling furiously trying to keep up with the dad; the daughter was going much slower, trying to wait for the mom to catch up, but not lose sight of her brother or dad.  I’m sure every pedal that mom took made her knee hurt that much more, only added to the lousy feelings it looked like she was experiencing. 

I thought about her the whole time I was in the grocery store (my excuse for forgetting the orange juice – sorry honey!).  About those unexpected bumps in the road that cause us to tip over and fall down.  Some of those bumps really hurt, and sometimes we feel we need to put on a brave face (especially in front of our family or friends) when really we want to just sit and cry.  How all the emotions we feel have to get expressed SOME way – so if it is not with a good cry, it often comes out in snappiness or outright anger, usually mis-directed at the ones around us that care the most.  How often do we push away those we love (or cause them to pedal off) after we’ve pulled them down in our misery pit with us? 

I want to be the kind of mom (the kind of person) that turns those feelings of sadness or hurt into laughter.  That’s right – I want to be the one sitting there on the ground, perhaps in pain, but laughing my ass off.  There can be tears running down my face, smearing my mascara all over the place, mortifying me, the whole scene horrifying my children, making my husband just shake his head (sometimes with me that is all he can do) – but through it all, I want the courage to laugh.

I’m not talking about some weak little laugh from the back of my throat — I want it to be a big, bold Julia Roberts laugh.  I want to laugh at my carelessness, laugh at my embarrassment, but then pick myself up and show my kids how you get right back on again. 

When someone offers me a hand up, I want to take it, say thanks, and wipe myself off.  I want to be that kind of person — not just FOR my kids, but for me!  Because I’m not often like that (and I so wannabe).   I mean, really – who would YOU rather go bike riding with? Or spend time with – for an hour, a day, a lifetime? 

It never ceases to amaze this Zen Mama Wannabe what lessons and reminders are out there for us – if only we take the time to notice the message – even on a drive to the grocery store!

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3 Responses to “How to Fall off a Bike”

  1. zenmomma Says:
    November 10th, 2008 at 6:41 pm

    What a beautiful post. I strive to be that mom too. Sometimes I succeed. Other times I’m in the Fake it Till You Make It camp.

    From one zenmomma to another.

  2. Sheri Says:
    November 12th, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    I struggle with this too. I try very hard to not show every emotion in front of my kids. They don’t need to see the hard day or stress in my eyes, they need to see mom smiling and happy, at least most of the time. It is hard, I can see myself reacting just like the mom on the bike.

  3. soloranger Says:
    February 10th, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    Nicely written. Its not how often or how severe we fall that matters, our true character is exposed as we pick ourselves up. Here’s to good belly laugh as we dust off and get back on the bike…

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