Today I have a special guest for you. Please meet and welcome Peggy Duffy. Besides being my awesome sister-in-law, Peggy is a yoga instructor and the founder of Miss Fit Girls—a wonderful yoga-based mentoring program for girls aged 10-16. I encourage you to check out Miss Fit Girls, either at their website or their Facebook page.
I said Peg is a “special” guest, and she certainly is. She’s special in a lot of ways, but once you read this post, you will undoubtedly be surprised by one of those ways—she’s not a writer. (Well, not yet. She’s certainly a natural storyteller, so she’s more than halfway to being one of us. 😉 )
From the moment I read this wise essay, I knew I needed to share it with my writer friends. After all, we are the ultimate askers of “What if,” aren’t we? Enjoy!
We all do it. What if it works? What if it doesn’t?! What if I don’t pass this test? What if I can’t get out? What if I can’t find a job? A partner? What if I fail? What if…what if I don’t?!
May 10th, 2010 – She just came home from her first year of college. The next day was starting her internship at a swanky ad company. It was a beautiful May day. She was shining too. She had so much energy that a quick bike ride would help dispense it.
I answered and heard: She’s going to be fine.
It’s funny how time blurs, instructions are not ‘heard’ but understood. I was one mile from the accident. I pulled up wherever. And I saw… I saw a car, and the back tire of a bike sticking out from under it and the ambulance. It’s true when they say all sounds disappear. I heard nothing. I only wanted to see… her.
I stepped into the ambulance. There she was, head brace, strapped down, bloody. As I stared at her head, she rolled her eyes back to see me.
“I’m fine. I’m fine.” Oh, she’s always trying to protect me. I looked down at my girl. I looked her up & down, watching the EMT’s prepare her arms for IV’s.
“No. I’M FINE. YOU just got run over by a car.” She gave me a look of “Really? Sarcasm now?” It’s my go-to.
“So, you’re ‘fine’, right? Have you seen who is working on you?” I was referring to the fine looking EMT boys saving my girl’s life.
She smiled and raised her eyebrows. She’s fine.
“Fine” can be defined in many many ways. She was driven to the hospital in an ambulance, her clothes cut off in front of 27 nurses and doctors, cone of shame, iv’s, X-rays, poking, pinching, blinding flashlights to the eyes. All for good reason: what they found… road rash, tire skid mark on her back, a small crack in the transverse process, and a bunch of pulled muscles. They left us alone. She was fine… then the shock wore off. It was like the blanket that had covered and protected her was now of no need and slowly pulled down off her body. Her face changed, she looked at me wide eyed and became a very scared, very young child. She wailed. And so did I. What if her head had hit the cement, the bumper, what if her back was crushed by the tire? What if…yes.. what if I had lost my girl that day? We both LOST it. Deep deep belly cries that filled the room. It filled the halls all the way to the nurses’ station. I knew our cries were heard because a few minutes into our bawl-out, a little nurse slid in like Joel in Risky Business with her finger raised and a loud “HEY!”
“STOP IT. STOP IT RIGHT NOW!” She was pissed? Sort of.. but more than that, she had a message. Mid-bawl we both stopped.
“SHE is fine. She’s alive and not broken, not dying. She’s here … Now.” (… and this next line changed our lives).
“Those ‘what if’s’… those ‘what ifs’ will only steal from you!! What ifs will kill you.” and she left us. *perfect entrance, perfect exit.
I looked at Meg. Laying in her hospital bed, scraped, bruised, sore. She was here. I would get to see her grow more into the beautiful girl she already is.
The next few weeks were rough. A frustrating recovery and a joyous journey to full-on enjoying life and all it has to offer. No accident, illness, disease leaves you the same as you were before. It changes you, challenges you. What are your ‘what if’s’? WHAT IF… you lived it without the fear of losing it, rather living it with the love of having it. That is my only ‘what if’ question. I don’t even ask it anymore, I know the answer so well.
What are your “what ifs”? Do they ever get in the way? Please share.
About Miss Fit Girls:
Connecting, Encouraging, Strengthening, Accepting, Celebrating
Miss Fit Girls is a unique yoga-based program for girls ages 10-16 years old. With fast and intense changes going on in their bodies and minds, Miss Fit Girls, gives them the time they need to slow down and enjoy. At MFG, they learn to trust and listen to their own thoughts and emotions, embrace the movement of change and learn to respond rather than react. They come to the mat to practice so they are prepared for the ups & downs in their daily lives.