Her Bravery

I distinctly remember the day my mom first showed me her bravery.

We were in my parent’s Chevy Celebrity. I think I was five. The corduroy seats itched the back of my knees, so I kept tugging on my skirt hem. I played with the hand-crank on the window, turning it up and down repeatedly. Each time it was down, warm air seeped inside and got stuck in my nose. And despite the floor being out of reach, I kicked my feet back and forth trying to touch my toes against the carpet.

We were car-dancing to Madonna when my mom gasped and slammed on her brakes. Our heads flew forward then slammed against the seats with a thud. I stopped kicking and car-dancing. Stopped playing with the window. Stopped breathing for the shortest moment.

Everything stood still as our eyes connected in the rear-view mirror. There, I saw concern and love, then determination and strength. All before she blinked.

“Oh, God!” she shouted. I exhaled and the world rotated again. “That car hit the little girl so hard she…” her voice trailed off. I heard the clicking and clacking of the car going into park and her seatbelt being unbuckled, then the slapping of the belt raveling up.

She climbed out of her seat, slammed her door, and stopped in front of my window. “You stay here,” she said, using her voice that meant business. Perseverance filled each line on her face in a way that I had never seen before.

I gulped down a breath bubble and scratched the corduroy seat to feel the fibers under my nails. I nodded yes.

“I mean it, Danielle,” she said.

“Okay, Mommy,” I whispered to her, but she was already jogging away.

I craned my head up to peek out the window and the smell of exhaust fumes overwhelmed me. It was a busy street that felt close to home, but I couldn’t tell which one it was. I saw my mom approach a girl lying face down on the pavement. She wasn’t much bigger than me. And behind the girl was a car. Its windshield was caved in and shards of glass glittered against the street. I looked away, afraid and unsure of what was happening.

Time isn’t the same when you are a child, so I don’t know how long I sat there avoiding the scene out of my window, but it felt like hours. I heard sirens and voices just beyond our car. I saw the flashing lights, but I couldn’t bear to lift my head and watch.

Eventually everything slowed. No more sirens, lights, or commotion.

My mom opened her door, sat back down in the driver’s seat, and cradled her head in her hands. “I couldn’t save her,” she wept. “I couldn’t save the little girl’s life.”

Photo courtesy of Pexels

Categories nonfiction, UncategorizedTags , , , , , , , , ,

18 thoughts on “Her Bravery

  1. Wow, I’m in tears. That poor baby girl, and your mom. I can’t imagine dealing with such a scene.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! My mom was selfless, kind, and very brace.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It sounds like it. Reminds me of my grandmother. She had a lot of flaws but she really cared about children.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m crying too. Your mom was a wonderful woman for trying.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you 😊. She was wonderful in many ways.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What a moving story. I’m sure that moment stayed with both of you, those moments do. What a tragedy for everyone. I feel the spectre of that little girl’s mom too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. From what my mom said, her and her dad had just returned from getting a happy meal. She opened her door, ran into the street before he could grab her and that’s when she got hit. So tragic. And this wasn’t the only time my mom witnessed and responded to an accident before the first responders arrived. She was amazing.


  4. Danielle, it warms my heart every time you write about your mom. This story was so touching! What an amazing woman!


  5. Your mom sounds like a special woman. Someone who would stop to help, who would mourn a child she didn’t know, had to have such a good heart.

    I thought the sensory details in the first paragraph were particularly effective at bringing us into your five-year-old world.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I think I remember the way things feel and sound more than anything visually. I hoped that would come through 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. brockbuildersteel March 23, 2017 — 3:52 am

    And so we stroll the Mind’s galleries of our yesteryear where time stopped images both as tragically sad and joyful are framed and hang within these’ are our personal Galleries. Thank you for the tour Danielle, thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This brought me to tears! The way you write really captures the emotions of the piece. I also really like the way that you wrote from the pov of your younger self, it’s always such an interesting perspective. Your Mum really is brave 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow! I have no words. Your mom is truly an amazing person.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This was so powerful.

    Liked by 1 person

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