Sunday, June 10, 2012


Ever have one of those moments where you see something that reminds you of something else and then a culmination of thoughts seem to stream in from different directions, and then converge into a moment of clarity?

Well I had one a few nights ago. It wasn't anything profound, like the solution for human selfishness... but it was a personal revelation that I hope carries me and my family, and hopefully others into a happier existence.

I was driving home from my night-class when a motorcyclist passed me, looked back at me, left lots of room between me and where she wanted to place herself in the other lane, signalled, looked back once more and successfully merged.  She then proceeded to drive down the road in front of me carefully and methodically.   She was the definition of a responsible, defensive driver.  As she should be! I couldn't help but think about how much danger one puts themself in when they ride one of these things.  It's you and your little bike against the ignoramus who is texting while driving in a one-ton pick-up!  I said a little prayer for her as she took her exit, that she always remain alert and aware and that danger never touch her as she rides.

This moment reminded me of my Dad, who for those who don't know, was killed when an SUV crossed over the centre line, hitting his truck on an icy highway in March 2011.  The reminder was three-fold.  First of all, people whose loved ones have been killed in car-accidents are generally more aware of the the impact and ramifications of accident scenarios, real or imagined. Second, whenever I get into my car and drive anywhere, I hear my Dad's voice in my head going through the defensive driving techniques: "Okay, now shoulder check, signal, shoulder check and when it's safe, merge... Don't slow down! Keep up with the flow of traffic and get in your lane."  The third reason is that my dad had and loved motorcycles.  He wasn't the Harley Davidson-worshipping American Chopper type dude, he was just a guy who fixed up some old motorcyles and took them out riding with a friend or my brother once in awhile. 

The next thought:  I remembered a specific moment in my teen-years when my dad came to pick me up from a friend's on his motorcycle.  I walked out the door and was, for some reason, mortified that I'd have to put on this helmet and hop on behind him to get home.  My relationship with him was a little strained at that point, I being a teen girl searching for some autonomy from my parents, but unable to talk to them about it in a constructive manner, and he, not being the type of guy to press the issue or try to sit down and have an awkward conversation.  I got on the bike behind my dad, put my arms around him and was whisked back home with the summer air blowing in my face and adrenaline pumping through my body as we navigated through traffic.  I didn't want to admit at the time that it was fun, that I felt like a little kid again, driving somewhere with my dad.  I felt proud that my dad was the fun dad who took me out on his motorcycle.  Once the ride was over, I got off and was tempted to just hang out, me and my dad, like when I was 5 or 6 and would play in the garage or back-yard peppering my dad with questions about what he was doing.  But I didn't stay...

I didn't remember that moment until the other night either. My next thought was to question why my dad chose to come get me on his bike rather than the car.  Was it because he just wanted to have fun with his daughter like we used to?  Did he even put that much thought into it?

My next thought was about parental love.  My own kids are little and need so much attention that I sometimes think I'll never be alone again.  I was just telling my brother the other day that I have rarely even gone to the bathroom alone for almost 2 years (since Patrick started to walk).  I breathe a sigh of relief when both babies are in bed and I'm not too exhausted to spend an hour or two with my husband before we fall asleep and are rudely awakened in the morning by a two-year-old who pokes our eyes and chatters non-stop till we get out of bed. 

It's stressful. It's not fun a lot of the time.  But as with everything, this too, shall pass.  Someday we'll be in the position of my father - perhaps just hungry for some time with our kids, even if it's just a functional thing, like a ride home.  That thought put things in perspective. So today, I cuddled up with my sons and read a couple stories.  I had "coffee"  with Patrick (coffee for me, chocolate milk for him) before his nap.  I am determined that I'll remember that someday they won't want to follow me around and be constantly in my presence, so to enjoy them right now, where they're at.

I need these moments of clarity to sort life out sometimes.

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