It never fails to amaze me how a split second can and does change everything. One minute you are trotting along happily through life and BOOM! something happens to make it all different. Everything changes; sometimes just for a moment, sometimes for the rest of your days.
The human body is a frail thing; soft mushy tissue, delicate bones, flimsy muscles. Really no match for much of what life tosses at us. Luck is the trump card we hold close to the vest, jealously guarding it for just when you might need it most.
If you are lucky, which apparently I am, you get a strong stiff whiff of "what if?" and can try to resume your regularly scheduled existence.
It happened just like that over the weekend.
The kids and I were out and about on rainy, drippy typical Saturday in the NW. Popped into the tea shop for some refreshment and even enjoyed it. The kids didn't bicker much, Molly ran into one of her pals. Shea had a new little car to drive around the tabletop. All was right with the world.
After that we went to our favorite book store whose praises have been sung on my blog before.
Congratulations were in order as they may be one of the only small businesses in America doing so well they are able to expand their space during this blasted recession. The unveiling was close. The new room was painted with new wooden bookshelves lining the walls just waiting for the books that would soon fill them.
Kids being kids were farting around on the floor, rolling like puppies and actually not being too obnoxious. I poked around looking for something to leap out at me from the shelves and yell, "Read me!"
When I heard one of the nearby father's say, "Hey! Hey! HEY!!!!!" I looked up and one of the bookcases was not secured to the wall and was tipping forward and was heading for Shea. He was in the direct path and I could see one of the shelves headed straight for the base of Shea's scull.
The father who yelled and I raced across the room and caught the shelf with only about a second or two to spare. I really don't even know how long it took as time seemed to go into slow motion.
Shea was oblivious, he hadn't seen what was coming. Most of the other shoppers were oblivious too.
The father and I just looked at each other quite dazed. I thanked him as I was trying to get my breathing back to normal. My heart was beating fast as I tried to recover from the extra large squirt of adrenalin.
All I could do was herd by brood out of the store still visably shaken with a pounding heart. The image of that bookcase coming down on Shea is etched in my memory and will be there for a long time.
Then the "What ifs?" started rolling. If we hadn't gotten there in time. If that father hadn't been there to help me. If that bookcase squarely fell on Shea's head. If the local EMTs would've been able to handle it. If we would have been helicopter lifted to the city. If we would have spent the weekend, week, month at the hospital. If, if, if. The horrific possibilities are still swirling around my head.
When life slips you a free card like that, it is wise to acknowledge it. I did and do. I am quite aware of how close that was and how we squeaked through.
May we all be so lucky next time.