This morning, Garrett spun around too long in the bathroom and, when he stopped, fell on the tile floor with his cheek against the toilet. I only saw it the second after it happened and thought, “Why is he lying on the floor?” He started crying and, as I picked him up, he said, “Everything is spinning!”
His cheek was red and we iced it. I checked his mouth. No bleeding. He didn’t even bruise. He only needed a few more minutes of ice and several kisses. I felt like we dodged a bullet, I felt lucky, and I felt guilty all at the same time. “Why wasn’t I watching him? What was I doing? Brushing my hair? Yeah, brushing my stupid hair. I heard him but I thought he was just stomping, not spinning. That could have been really bad. Thank God it wasn’t.”
Clearly I can’t watch what my son is doing every second of the day. I can’t even do it every second we’re in the same room together. Sometimes a lady’s gotta brush her stupid hair. But all of my little fears come to the surface when something like this happens. Who’s watching him on the playground at school? Is he careful when he rides that bike on the bike path they have there? Is anyone paying attention to him when he’s eating the grapes I packed in his lunch? (They’re cut in half, of course.) I mean clearly, even when I’m the one in charge, shit happens. Shit is going to happen.
The thing is, I think about this kid all day. All the time. I sometimes struggle to find something to talk about besides the little, brilliant, funny, blond three-year-old that lives in my house. One of my big fears when I was pregnant was that there was going to be someone else living with Russ and I. I remember saying to him, “Do you realize someone else is moving in? And he’s NOT leaving! How can three of us live here?” And now I don’t even blink an eye when that guy follows me into the bathroom to pee (or worse)! I never knew. I didn’t know.
And I want this kid to know no pain. I want him to make all the right choices and choose all the right people and follow all the right dreams. I want him to know more laughter than tears, and to live a beautiful, blessed life. But I know that shit happens. And our desire to protect every moment is an impossible one.
I don’t really know where I’m going with this except to say that as moms, every little hurt that happens to our children creates a personal pain for us. The bigger the hurt for them, the greater our pain. On the other hand, their joys are ours too! When you have a kid, it’s like a piece of you is out there living a separate life, but one that you feel insanely connected to, and fiercely protective of. I never imagined having these feelings. Every mom should be connected by them. Funny how Garrett NOT hurting himself today made me think all these things. He’s incredible. I’m so grateful. I’m spinning.