Lisa Ricard Claro – Author

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Near Misses: Guardian Angels On Duty

Posted on Jun 10, 2015 by Lisa Ricard Claro   16 Comments | Posted in Uncategorized

Luna when she first came home, rescued from a storm drain

Luna, rescued from a storm drain. A near miss.

Near misses. We’ve all had them—the car accident avoided because someone swerved at the last second, a trip to the emergency room dodged because you jumped backwards instead of forwards, the milk not spilled because your reflexes responded in top form.

Do you ever give a thought to those near misses? What might have been, if the other guy hadn’t swerved, if you had moved in the wrong direction instead of the right one, if you hadn’t stopped the glass from toppling over?

Near misses happen all day long, don’t they? So often, in fact, that we tend to forget about them once they’ve passed. But there are some near misses I haven’t forgotten, a few that might have ended in disaster if the stars hadn’t been in alignment—or our guardian angels not flying so close to the ground (God bless them, they’re busy creatures).

A few New Year’s Eves ago, celebrating at a friend’s house, we went outside to watch the neighbor set off some fireworks. It was just after midnight, and cold enough for the warm breath puffing from our mouths to do a fine impression of a cotton candy cloud before dissipating into the night. There were perhaps fifteen or twenty of us waiting for celebratory sparkles, kids comprising a good part of the group. We stood around watching the guy next door set off his store-bought rockets. The kids weren’t running around, and the adults hadn’t over-imbibed. The neighbor appeared to have taken the right precautions against danger. Except he hadn’t. And one of the bottle rockets he let fly didn’t arc upward and outward away from the crowd as it was supposed to. It shot across the lawn at eye level and zoomed past my face, landing somewhere behind us.

“Wow, that was close,” someone said. “You okay? That almost hit you,” said someone else.

Surprised and shaken, I acknowledged my near miss. Six inches to the right and my face would have been rearranged. I can’t even joke that it would be a good way to justify some cosmetic surgery to straighten out my wrinkles.

A couple of summers ago, boating at Lake Lanier, my youngest daughter decided she was tired of wakeboarding. She gave us the “stop” signal and let go of the rope, sinking like Captain Jack Sparrow going down into the mighty depths with the Black Pearl. The hubster had already slowed the boat and turned to go back to her. Two yahoos on jet skis, paying not the slightest attention to their surroundings—or the law—decided it would be a great idea to fly through the wake. Problem was, one of them was headed straight toward my girl. She waved her arms and hollered at him. He didn’t adjust his course.

By now, all of us on the boat were yelling and waving, jumping up and down. I screamed myself hoarse, heart beating so hard it hurt, terrified for my daughter. My husband hit the horn, turned up the testosterone switch (it makes the engine ridiculously noisy for no good reason other than to annoy the wife), anything to get the attention of these guys while he drove to intercept them.

My daughter, terrified, considered releasing her feet from the wakeboard and ditching her life vest so she could dive under the water and take her chances that way—and would that even be wise in 30 feet of murky lake water?—but, of course, there was no time for her to take this action.

At the last second, the guy with his jet ski racing toward my daughter saw her bobbing in the water. Panic overtook his features, and he swerved. A near miss.

We retrieved our daughter from the water and my husband revved up the boat and chased down the jet skiers—young guys who just didn’t know any better—and had a few choice things to say to them about both their lack of common sense and the law (it is unlawful to jump the wake of another watercraft when you are less than 100 feet away). We know the rules. They didn’t. Near miss.

Thank God, because it would’ve been fatal.

Some near misses, like that last one, we are more than grateful for. The word “grateful” doesn’t even come close to the elation and relief felt once the incident is past. Near misses like that bring home the fragility of all we hold dear, reminding us that things can change in an instant—no, not things…lives…our lives can change in an instant. It is best not to take for granted those near misses. Unlike a cat’s nine lives, we don’t know how many we have.

What near misses have caused you to step back in more than gratitude? Have you ever had a near miss that would have changed your life? Did the experience change you, or alter how you do things?

Be blessed, Buttercup. Wishing you all the near misses you need to make it a wonderful week.

See you Friday for Observations from the Tub—

16 Responses to "Near Misses: Guardian Angels On Duty"

  1. Comment by Sioux
    June 10, 2015 at 6:31 am  

    First of all, what a picture of Luna. In a shoe, it shows how tiny she was.

    Secondly, I know it sounds like I’m over-emotional, but my eyes welled up when you got to the part of your youngest daughter. I could (almost) imagine the horrible panic and helplessness. Thank goodness it was a miss.

    My daughter got bit in the head by a Saint Bernard mix when she was 8 or 9. It was a “miss” because it could have been her neck or eyes that got bit, and the dog ended up being not rabid (just a little crazy). We were working on pure adrenaline for a while that day.

    Thanks for giving me my first almost-cry this early in the morning. 😉

    (And after reading Claudia’s/Bookie’s review of your book, I’m even more anxious.)

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      June 10, 2015 at 3:51 pm  

      She was such a teeny little thing, Sioux! Hard to believe she’s almost 4 now…or is it 5? Either way, she’s a pip. She’s my little shadow in the mornings, very loving cat.

      That event with my daughter is one of the times in my life when I have been truly filled with horror. We were all helpless. You must have felt the same way when your daughter was bitten by the dog. Did it spoil her attitude toward dogs, at all? Sometimes people, especially kids, have a bad experience and it can be tough to overcome. I’m glad she was okay.

      Claudia’s review was a joy to my heart—her words were very kind, and I’m beyond thrilled that she enjoyed the book so much.

  2. Comment by Cathy C. Hall
    June 10, 2015 at 9:36 am  

    Several of my own accidents, but of course, those near misses don’t come close to the raging panic when it’s a child, Lisa. Those are the near misses that I wish I could forget–but when I DO remember, I always say an immediate prayer of gratitude, whether the near miss was yesterday or 30 years ago. (And yep, I’m saying a few quick prayers right now!)

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      June 10, 2015 at 3:53 pm  

      Don’t you wonder how many near misses we parents never hear about? Sometimes I think it’s better not to know. Did your Jr. Hall have any near misses while on his great adventure to New Zealand?

  3. Comment by Jerri Ricard
    June 10, 2015 at 10:13 am  

    I too felt your panic while reading the lake account. I almost cried as well ! So very thankful for our ministering angels. Subject change: It is coming up on June 20th really soon and I am uber-excited. This book is destined to be a big HIT not a near miss. Love you Chickie and yes, the Luna picture is adorable!

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      June 10, 2015 at 3:54 pm  

      Thanks for the encouragement, Jerri Lynn! I’ll take all that I can get.

  4. Comment by Debra Mayhew
    June 10, 2015 at 1:06 pm  

    The one that comes to mind for me is a bit like yours. I watched a near miss with my daughter. It left me shaking and in tears and my mom put her arm around me and said, “God knew what was going to happen and He protected her.” It took her saying that to catch my breath and realize He is always in control. But, oh, they are so scary when they are happening! By the way, my brother-in-law accidentally shot a bottle rocket at his family. It missed and hit the trash can instead. The only one in danger of serious injury that night was him when my sister went after him! 🙂

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      June 10, 2015 at 3:56 pm  

      Hahaha! I can imagine he heard about it for quite some time. I think we mothers would all have a thing or two to say. 😉

  5. Comment by Rob
    June 10, 2015 at 1:37 pm  

    Doing overhauls on power plants, I seen a lot of close calls. One reaction that I found most interesting was when we would look at each other for a second and then start giggling. The laughter would increase with the level of the disaster that had just been avoided to the point I thought several times I’d pee my pants. I don’t know why we had that reaction. Somebody should do a study.

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      June 10, 2015 at 3:57 pm  

      You know, Rob, a lot of people laugh when they’re nervous—I’m one of them sometimes. Maybe all that laughter is our body’s way of relieving the stress, like the old saying—if you didn’t laugh about it, you’d cry.

  6. Comment by ButtonsMom2003
    June 10, 2015 at 8:53 pm  

    What a horrible/wonderful story about your daughter’s near miss. I can’t even imagine what that would feel like.

    I’m sure I’ve had plenty of near misses during my life but I can only think of one and I’m not sure it qualifies… Just over 5 years ago I had an infected boil on my stomach and my doctor sent me to the ER. A CT scan was ordered and the good news was that the infection hadn’t spread inside my abdomen. The bad news was that the scan revealed a tumor on my left kidney. Six weeks later I was minus one kidney but cancer free with only follow-up scans needed. That was the luckiest infection I’ve ever had.

    I can’t wait to post my review of your book on all of the popular book sales sites!

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      June 11, 2015 at 8:46 pm  

      OMG. Yes, that more than qualifies. Wow. The docs call that an “incidental finding.” How fortunate you had to go to the ER! (Words you don’t hear every day.) That six weeks must have been an emotional whirlwind. Your guardian angel earned her wings.

      Thanks for the reviews to come! I appreciate it!

  7. Comment by Tammy
    June 14, 2015 at 1:44 pm  

    My heart is still racing for your daughter…! I also nearly had my face rearranged by a firecracker. Twice! And so many near-misses with cars, a van, even – urk – a train. Every time I catch myself thinking how unlucky I am that I will never win the lottery, I think of some of these and remember how lucky I really am.

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      June 15, 2015 at 4:47 pm  

      You had firecracker near misses, too? Gak. Scary as all get out, that. It happened so fast…I, too, am so grateful for the things that DIDN’T happen!

  8. Comment by Theresa Sanders
    June 16, 2015 at 8:18 am  

    What a heart-wrenching story, Lisa. Your daughter’s near miss brought tears to my eyes. I can imagine your panic as only another mother can. My son once witnessed a shooting, which still makes my heart skitter. And of course there have been near misses in car accidents — and one that wasn’t a miss. And yes, it changed my life in so many ways, but I am so blessed to have survived it and I had just dropped my two sons off at daycare. If they had been in the car it would have been fatal.

  9. Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
    June 16, 2015 at 9:02 pm  

    My mother had a near miss like that with me, Theresa. She was bringing my siblings to a party and I asked to go along. She didn’t know why I couldn’t go, just that I couldn’t. I remember being so frustrated at the time. And then she was in an accident on the way home, and it likely would have killed me—no one wore seat belts back then, and I was little, would’ve been standing in the front hanging onto the dash. (Can you believe we used to do that?). I’m so glad you had your near misses, too!

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