The story below was originally an email that was sent in November 2010 and has been rewritten for this blog.
It was raining. Four-year-old and two-year-old had just been to big school to drop off six-year-old. They were cold and their hands were freezing. They still had to walk to Sainsbury’s and the library before they could get in the warm car and go home. What to do?
Remembering the song their cousins sang at music group (http://www.creativemonicamusic.co.uk/), suddenly Granny grabs their hands and starts singing, “We are walking, walking along. We are singing a happy song. Tra la la la la … “. Then they skipped, hopped, jumped, backed (didn’t quite get that one), crossed (over the road), squished (together along the narrow pathway) and anything else Granny could think of until they got to Sainsbury’s.
Two cold, miserable children were still singing happily to themselves as they walked round Sainsbury’s. Monica Music had saved the day.
I’m always one for finding the short cut. After all, why walk 40 steps when you can do it in 20? When I worked in Southwark, I loved walking across estates rather than round them. Not just for the effort saved by the short cut itself, but also the good feeling that came with the thought that I might have outwitted everyone else. Probably not really.
So there’s this long alley that runs by the allotments that leads to grandsons’ school. Houses in the road that runs parallel to it also back on to it, separated by a driveway to the garages and a hedge. There must be a quick way through surely?
There was. One mum found a way and started to use it with her kids. Then another mum joined her. All the time the gap in the hedge was getting bigger and bigger. I eyed it up. After all, I sometimes parked my car in the parallel road and it would save at least five minutes walk with the grandchildren, wouldn’t it? But I knew it was risky. After all, I’m not as young and spritely as the mums. I kept watching the gap.
Then the day came when I parked my car right next to the entrance to the garages. It was time to try the shortcut out. It looked okay. The boys got through alright. The slope was steep. I minimised the risk by going down diagonally. My foot caught in some unseen barbed wire and down I went. Face down in the mud.
I picked myself up. Reassured the boys.
They were impressed with the short cut and surprised when they saw where the car was. I drove them home and had a cup of tea with them before driving to my house. Five hours later I decided to go to the Emergency Department. And yes, I had broken several bones in my wrist.
I felt bad. I hadn’t listened to my best advice. I had given in to the temptation to save a few minutes walking. Worse still I had thrown my daughter’s childcare arrangements up in the air as I couldn’t drive and was restricted by what I could do with one hand.
People did rally round to help. Thank you to every one that did. But really I should have listened to my better self.