One second earlier ..

I just happened looked at the clock this morning as I was bustling about the apartment helping the Cowboy gather up his things .. to head again for his/our SD home ..

It struck me, that it was about the exact same moment a week ago .. we had the accident.

A moment I haven’t been able to shake.

We were on our way to school Monday morning, comfortably early and enjoying the moment.  We turned down a side street we often will take, proceeding slowly and remarkably with no distractions other than the conversation ..

A flash of something appeared no sooner than we heard whatever it was, hit the car.

“What was that, mom?  What was that?” my daughter asks in a panic.

I had slammed on the brakes and had little idea what it was until I looked in my rear view mirror.

I saw a young girl, picking up her bike.  She didn’t seen me coming and ran a stop sign.  She and a friend had also been on their way to school.

I ran back to the scene.  The young girl already up, apologizing and telling me she was fine.  Repeatedly.  Embarrassed, I think and probably in shock.

“Are you sure,” I ask.  Also, repeatedly.  And we both started to cry.

I was grateful she was okay, stunned at what had just happened and at the same time, frustrated she could have been so disrespectful of the stop sign, only because it could have just cost her, her life.


One second earlier was all I could think, if she were one second earlier, or had I braked seeing her coming this could have been a very different outcome.  One that makes me shudder each time the vision crosses my mind.

I haven’t been able to shake it.  And I have felt awful even thinking about the damage to my car.  How could that possibly be important in the grand scheme of things ..

A few days later .. on our way to school again, we saw the same two girls, this time taking another route to school but both back on their bikes.

Please.  Be safe girls.


Hug your kids.  Remind them it is imperative they, like anyone else using the road, follow the rules of the road.  A stop sign means stop, even if it doesn’t look like there is any traffic coming.  Especially if the oncoming traffic has the right of way.  We can all try and keep an eye out for each other but sometimes those safety nets fail.  And, never a skeptic of helmets but never one to always wear one either, I am now a believer.

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About Carleen Wild

Journalist. Communications consultant. Photographer. Helping you share your story in a way that is meaningful to you as a person or for your business. Wife. Mom. Wisconsin transplant to South Dakota trying not to get swept away in crazy massive winds of Great Plains. Missing delicious cheese and great local brews.

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