Wednesday it was raining and cold. I couldn't find my 3 year-old son's Thomas the Tank Engine rain coat. I dropped off my daughter, chilly and wet. I turned out of her school, wipers on high, and headed to teach a midweek Stroller Strides class. I navigated soggy traffic and glanced in the rear view mirror to see that my son had fallen asleep.
It wasn't long after that I heard the unmistakable sound of crunching metal and glass. I slammed on my breaks and swerved to avoid a Honda Civic that had just bounced off of a pickup truck. It was seconds. So fast. I ended up on the curb, next to the vehicles involved in the crash, safe and untouched, but shaken. I hopped out to help the girl in the car who was not hurt, but really upset. After talking with the police officer who thankfully got to the scene very quickly, I let the girl have my umbrella, explained I had to hurry to teach a fitness class, and the officer helped watch traffic as I backed up and got back on the road.
It was still raining and I was shaking as I drove. I realized that if I hadn't swerved the car would've hit my sleeping son. I quickly texted Nora, a mom who almost always comes to class while I was at the stoplight. I was going to be late to teach class. My son woke up as we pulled up. I sucked up tears as I saw our franchise owner, Missy in the parking lot. She saw that I was upset and she hurried inside. When I made it in, I saw Nora and Missy already leading the warm-up for me. Missy gave me a reassuring hug and let me gather myself before taking over the class. I briefly explained what happened to everyone. I had never been so happy to see the smiling faces of our Village there for me after that scare.
At the end of class I thanked everyone for their understanding and help. I joked that I couldn't talk about it or I would cry again. That got me thinking about how valuable our village really is to so many of our moms. I asked them to tell us how the FIT4MOM Midtown Raleigh Village has been there for them. Here are some answers I got.
- "There have been so many great moments with other moms and kids and some great friendships forged. But, I remember it was one of the first classes. It was at Pullen Park with Elaine. It was the second time I had really gotten out of the house. I had no real workout clothes and wore an old black XL shirt that was my husband's and I felt self conscious. We started the work out and Elaine took us towards the picnic bungalows and I thought I was going to pass out going up-hill. When we got to our station, My son had a blow out of epic proportions and I said 'That's it, I can't do this. I'll stay in the house from now on.' As I changed the baby, cleaned off his seat, and changed his soiled clothes, Elaine came over and just said 'It's all going to be okay.' That's all I needed to keep coming back."
- "Another mom bought me some Starbucks at my first class back after my miscarriage just to say she was thinking of me."
- "I received flowers and a meal from a friend and instructor when I suffered a personal loss a few years ago. It made a world of difference to me at that time."
- "Every single time an instructor took my son and pushed him around when he'd cry during class! That happened week after week! Thank you. Those are the little things that are so appreciated that words really cannot describe."
- "Being new to the city a few years ago, the women in our village became my first and best friends to this day. Even if our children are not connected anymore, we still go out to dinner and lean on each other."
- "I've been the (GRATEFUL!) recipient of 2 postpartum Meal Trains, play dates, hugs, babysitting trades, kid-gear loans. Just today I borrowed Natalie's clip on high chair to take on a trip next week! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE how this Village leans on each other, lifts each other up, celebrates each other's victories, births, gives generously and joyfully to whomever has needs and holds each other's confidences. There is nothing catty about this Village. Y'all are THE BEST!
- "The children my daughters met in Stroller Strides before going to preschool are her earliest friends. Many of the moms are my best friends now, too!"
A day or so later the police officer called. I wasn't part of the accident but he later needed to use information I gave him for the report and he said he had to make me aware of this. I thanked him again for his help. Before getting off the phone he asked me about my "mom's fitness class" because his wife was expecting! I gave him information to give her about FIT4MOM. Maybe our Village will grow through that experience. Who knows? There's always room in our Village for more moms.