One Mile Too Far

We biked 18 miles today–two little kids on one double tag-a-long bike and one on a single tag-a-long. Sam and a buddy rode solo. It was the “Tour de Taste” with lots of stops for food, so it wasn’t quite the monster journey it sounds like. But it should have been 19 miles–which it turned out was exactly one mile too long. Rory went from super sport, rollicking along, talking to the other kids–to sound asleep. On the bike.

I’m sorry, you CAN’T sleep on a tag-a-long bike. It’s not like it has a safety belt! Lily’s done this, too–it doesn’t seem possible to an adult, but it’s motion, and it’s tiring, and preschoolers possess amazing sleep abilities–but still.

We woke her up, of course, just before she fell off (and we go down hills at 35+ mph on bikes, this is mountain country). Got her off, gave her a drink, had her walk around–and three minutes later, I feel the back of the bike go all wobbly again.

We really don’t have a choice, or not an easy one–the cars are all of a mile and a half away, and one of us can’t go get the car because we had to bring two. She has to ride. Off the bike, drink of water, walk around–and a nice squeeze of water down her neck, just to be sure (it’s hot out). Ooh, was she angry–but that’s ok, at least she was awake-or so I thought.

She screamed for the next five minutes. We’re riding along, she’s screaming but hanging on, and I’m thinking–at least we’ll make the car, and then she can go to sleep.

But something goes wrong back there. I hear her yell “Owie! Owie!” in mid-scream, and I brake just as she lurches off the seat into the grass with a thud. Fortunately we were going up hill, and the fall didn’t hurt her–but somehow, she’d sunk her leg into something–I still can’t figure out what, the chain, maybe? and it scraped off two pretty deep layers of skin. Not much blook, but two dirty white scraped streaks in her very brown leg, and it looked like it must hurt. It looked like she’d been peeled.
My first reaction, though, was that she’d thrown herself off the bike in rage (she’s more than capable of that). She was screaming, but she’d BEEN screaming–for what felt like a really long time (and for what sort of feels like months). My first reaction was irritation, not horror that she’d been hurt…and I don’t know, I still think that’s ok. I get irritated with Lily when she gets hurt that way, too. You know–they’re being horrible or whatever, and running off screaming and hitting things and then they fall down and skin a knee and you’re just like oh, come on! Now I have to feel sorry for you? Once I picked Rory up–with more resignation than sympathy, and it was hard, because the bike doesn’t have a kick stand and we’re at a bad spot on a a busy road (most of the ride was on quiet roads, but not the part right where we parked)–and saw it, I managed–oh, poor sweetie, yadda.

Sam rode off to catch up with Rob, who had my bike bag and the band aids. I tried to carry Rory and wheel the bike, but I couldn’t do it–in fact, I’m still paying for the effort. I’m slogging slowly and I see Sam pass Rob, crest a hill–and then I see a car pull over, and see Rob lay his bike down and start running–and for this, my heart stops. I can’t see Sam, or his buddy–who’s down? Why? What’s the car doing?

Rob’s sent Lily and Wyatt up a little hill to sit in the grass–he must still be able to see them–but I can’t leave Rory and run, not on this road, with her screaming still–but I can’t do this.
You have to sit on the bike. I put her down. It’s walk or sit on the bike. You have to be tough, I know it’s hard–I can’t believe I managed to be calm enough to say all that, but I know I did–she briefly considers a sit down strike and relents. On the bike, screaming–I run the bike up the hill, I’m not going to make her ride, I just needed her to sit–and see Sam walking up with Rob, sobbing. I can see blood on his face, but he’s walking.

Long story short, Sam’s just scraped. I had lollipops in my bag, and Rory finally recovered. Everybody’s fine. But still–

We’d had this good weekend. She and I went out alone this morning, and just with Lily last night–she’s doing so well, saying hello to strangers, cooperating–and being so charming, and I had felt lots of oh my gosh, she’s so cute, what a sweetie–even quoting her to Rob and talking about what she’d done when he didn’t see her–Really thinking, yes, we turned a corner, we’re on the downhill slope…

Does it mean anything that I didn’t react when she fell off like I did for Sam? I could SEE Rory. I could see that she was pretty much fine–I did panic when I felt her fall off, but once I could see her, and (oh, man) hear her–Sam I couldn’t see, couldn’t hear, anything could have happened over that hill on his own bike, zooming along. No, I think it’s ok.

But I feel sick from the emotion of today, I have to say. And my back hurts, and I’m tired. I was so proud of her, of all of them–now who knows if she’ll EVER get on that bike again. Oh well, Too ambitious, as always. I was telling Rob even before all this happened that we needed to choose lower stress “fun.”

2 Responses to “One Mile Too Far”

  1. shirlee says:


    If it makes you feel any better, my third kid threw himself out of the crib when he was eighteen months old. He was throwing a raging tantrum because he did not want to go to bed. I left the room, and the next thing I knew I heard a thump and a blood curdling shriek. I ran into the room and wasn’t sure if I should comfort him (he was standing up and screaming bloody was obviously okay) or dump him back in his crib and let hims scream himself to sleep.

    The mommy in me won out in the end, and I hugged him and comforted him, but there wasn’t a doubt in my mind the kid has purposely thrown himself up and over the crib railing (his head just cleared the side rail so there was no way he’d simply fallen) because that is the way number three is.

    It’s hard, but you’ll find a lot to admire in your daughter’s strength one day. Really. You will.

  2. Misty says:

    Well, it was one mile too many but I’m glad all your babies were OK. Hugs from China…

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