As I was walking along the beach yesterday I came across a little girl sitting on her bicycle. All of a sudden she tipped over. The first thing she did when she hit the ground was to turn her head and look over to the side. I followed her gaze. There, sitting on a bench, was a woman who was probably the girl’s mother. She smiled at the girl. The girl smiled back, picked up her bicycle, and hopped back on. No words were spoken.
You can imagine other reactions. Probably the most typical one is the mom with a worried look on her face running up to the little girl to see if she’s alright. Or perhaps a quick lecture on how to keep from falling over again. Maybe scoffing at the kid for falling. Or the mom might not have been paying attention, and so she wouldn’t have met the little girl’s gaze.
I mentioned this event to Anne. She said she witnessed a nearly identical circumstance earlier in the day. A little boy riding his bike, training wheels still on, took a corner and fell off. His mom was with him. The kid got up, whimpering a little, and glanced at his mom. The mom, a stern look on her face, smacked him upside the head. The kid got up, righted his bike and climbed back on. No words were spoken.
A little while after seeing the girl fall off her bike I heard a kid crying. A little girl was holding her dad’s hand as they headed toward the beach. The dad, grim-looking, held a tricycle in his other hand. I wonder what their story was.