Need a Reason to Slow Down? Try Running Over Your Kid's Foot

Filed under: Opinions

We arrive at school every day at about 8 a.m. and slink along the car line. As we pull up to the front door, my 9-year-old son hops out. I look back and tell him to have a great day, and my daughter starts yelling "I love you, I love you" as he tries to ignore her and hopes none of his friends hear her.

The school drop-off line has a rhythm to it. Stop. Teacher opens car door. Son gets out. I look back to say goodbye. Door shuts. I pull away. Six steps. Six beats. It happens the same way every day, except for this day.

On this day I'm not sure I looked back. Did I? I pulled away because it was time, I thought. I've got to get my daughter to her building, zoom home, write that article, answer that email, there's a conference call at 11 and I still need to write that plan. And then I looked back, I think, only to hear the teacher yell stop. The door was still open. I knew because I could hear her so clearly.

Why is the door still open?

"You're on his foot."

What did she say?

"Your tire is on your son's foot."

Oh my God. How? Pull forward, right? I slowly pull forward to get the tire off, only ...

"You drove onto it more. It's on his foot more." She's motioning me to go backwards.

I can see her face and my son's. I'd expect shock and disbelief, but both of their faces look blank to me, as if in suspended animation.

"Reverse. Reverse, Katherine," I tell myself.

The tire moves off. My son hesitates for a moment and then drops back into his back seat. He starts to cry.

Minutes later, we are in the school lobby. "It was an accident," the teacher says, as tears stream down my face. "Believe it or not this has happened more than once."

I can't properly describe how it feels to harm your beloved.

I cried and cried. I cried on the phone with the doctor. I cried in the car on the way to the doctor. I cried in the waiting room, long after my son had stopped crying and told me he was fine. And he was. No broken bones. Not even a bruise. The doctor told me tires have a lot of give.

Sometimes I forget where I am and who I am with. I become so focused on getting to the next thing. We all do. School to grocery to sports to dry cleaners to work to wherever. Our schedules don't feel as though they have much give.

They do, though, just like the tires. I'm going to find it. I'm going to slow down.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.