The last thing I remember is taking a photo of the soft contrast between the dark blue tones of the ocean waters with the pastels of the clear late afternoon sky. It was breathtaking. The sea was calm. The breeze, crisp and gentle.
South Florida weather in April is a dream. And I am on my mountain bike. Doesn't get any better than this.
I feel lucky.
Yet, unbeknownst to me, that euphoric sensation is about to end.
Hubby was home alone with the five kids and dinner was the next activity on the family agenda.
Inhaling the fresh ocean air one last time, I hop back on the bike and head west. Twilight is fast approaching. Heart pounding, the back of my shirt is instantly soaked with perspiration. Suddenly, the sidewalk narrows and a cement column juts out, claiming more than half my riding space. Balancing within this tight passageway is tricky. My senses heighten as I become aware of my close proximity to the bordering busy street.
And in the blink of an eye, I lose control.
Within seconds, I hear the sound of bones cracking and feel the internal shrill of my skull vibrating. Layed flat out on the road, I open my eyes to a pool of blood and what appears my teeth scattered throughout. My brain quickly assesses the damage.
Am I alive?
Fuelled by adrenaline and raw instinct, I drag myself out of the street back to the sidewalk. People converge immediately and fire questions at me from all directions.
Pain consumes me. My face is broken. And who knows what else.
Thoughts of the heartache I just unduly caused my unsuspecting family occupy my brain.
Silhouettes of strangers come and go, images of my children happy and playing flash through my mind’s eye. Muffled whispers, car engines, horns and sirens surround and deafen me.
Somehow I manage to hand my phone to someone. Hubby is on his way.
Once he arrives, he’s ushered back into his car, away from the gory crime scene, and follows the ambulance to the hospital--- still uninformed of his wife’s condition.
Fear, worry, doubt, emotional turmoil, heartache, and panic overtake me. And overwhelm those precious few that matter most.
All because Mama must to do her sanity-saving -biking-thing.
These Sunday biking expeditions represent eternal youth, freedom, an adrenaline rush and intimacy with nature. I fly on that bike and love all it entails---the raunchy smells of the street, hot sun on my back and fierce breeze whipping through my hair---as I approach the humbling sea.
Now home from a week-long stay at the hospital, hubby jokes my next gift will be a tricycle and any future biking will be at the gym on a stationary one.
But something else is at play here, gnawing at my consciousness.
Truth be told: This accident was bound to happen. Because when I get on my bike, I transform and am less careful than any responsible wife and mom of five small children should be.
En route to the hospital, I realized my desire to prove I am still that 25 year-old wannabe jock is incongruous and irrelevant at this stage of my life. Having defied death once, five years ago, after the extraction of a giant brain tumor, why do I still feel the need to live on the edge?
My Warrior Mom philosophy has always been:
Continue doing what you love.
Don’t give up on your pre-mommy passions.
Age is just a number.
Push your body.
Push your mind.
Live life passionately.
You can handle it if you believe you can.
But now, this Warrior Mom’s motto is changing.
The invaluable lesson learned is this: My “need for speed” is selfish and secondary to my family’s right to have me alive and well for as long as possible.
Perhaps, as a mother and a wife, I can and should work within that grey area, modifying the pursuit of my dreams and passions with my current reality.
I believe it’s called being a grown-up and it must be a win-win situation for all.
Maybe accepting moderation is a sign I’m finally maturing.
And hopefully I won’t need my teeth knocked out to learn yet another nugget of wisdom.