I’m still reeling a bit from an incident this afternoon where M was nearly hit by a car. Have you ever seen your life flash before your eyes? I haven’t, but I did see hers flash before me today. We were walking through our neighbourhood. P rides his bike so I was a few paces ahead with him and one of the girls in my arm, and we crossed the street at a T-intersection. M was behind with another adult pushing a stroller. The stroller got stuck navigating some weird vegetation on the boulevard. Margot had been hanging onto the stroller, but got off. By the time the other adult had freed it, Margot was just slightly ahead, and it had been about ten or fifteen seconds since P and I had crossed. In that time, a car approached.

I looked back to see Margot on the verge of stepping out into the road, and I SCREAMED. Like most three-year olds, M’s instinct when you tell her to do something is to do the opposite. She didn’t see, the car and didn’t understand why I was yelling. I watched her expression in that two seconds or so, and I knew she was debating whether to bolt toward me or do as I said. Just two days earlier, she had refused to wait on the sidewalk while I got one of the girls out of the minivan, and had kept trying to come in the road even after I told her to wait. This time, she listened to me and hung back. Despite my scream, and the fact that I stepped back into the road with a baby in my arms, the car didn’t slow down until he had already passed.

These days more than ever I am acutely aware of how life can change in an instant. It didn’t for us, thank goodness, except maybe to make sure I am more vigilant.