Tuesday, March 5, 2013

close calls that leave us mamas breathless

Parenting what ifs....they evolve and change...but they begin before you even realize you are a parent.

When you are pregnant you worry about all the choices you are making as you house this little miracle in your belly?  What if the diet coke I treated myself to this week will cause _____ in my child....If I paint the nursery red will that impact their personality?  If I go to a concert and it is loud will that impact their hearing?  If I wake up on my back .....

But then baby is born and the what ifs increase and you add to them the horrific close calls.  The actual close call isn't so bad, it's the mind game that follows.

Baby is born and your baby sleeps 3 hours instead of an hour and a half and you panic and think what if she's not just sleeping?  Or a small toy is plucked from her little mouth and you panic, what if she had choked on that thing, phew - close call?  

Then your child turns one and you realize they survived the first year.  You did it.  But before you get too confident they are toddling around and take tumbles only millimeters from the corner of the coffee table.  The table food increases and some new food sounds yummy and they choke for a split second, but he/she gets it out.  Close call.  Maybe they climb out of a crib and you think of all the possibilities that could have been the outcome...but they weren't.

As they get older you have the moment where you turn down an aisle at Target but they are back an aisle sitting there dreaming about what box of snacks they want and you lose them for a second.  Or at Kohl's you bend down to pick a shirt that fell off a hanger and they sneak under a clothing rack to hide from you.  Your heart stops beating.  But then they are right there again.  

And the close calls and what if moments of teenagers, oh geez, I don't even want to go there yet.

And that's the thing.  A gift we get as parents are close calls.  They wake us up.  They give us a second chance to learn and they show us that children are resilient and amazing and that there is a teeny bit of luck on our side.  Or at least we like to think so.

Today I had a close call...or a what if moment.  As I dropped  Charley at school  this morning I reminded him of our normal plan to get home from school.  I realized mid day that he had service club today after school, but figured he had a big weekend and if he came home instead of going to service club that it would be okay.  The neighbor informed me that Charley went to service club and so off we went to pick him up when the time was right.  But when we got there the leader, who only dismisses the kids to parents, could tell me clearly he had just been standing there but, he wasn't there anymore.

He also had his violin today so I figured he went to grab that.  Nope.  Maybe his jacket back at his classroom.  Nope.  Then I remembered that we hadn't discussed going to service club so maybe he walked home.  So his teacher manned the service club meeting area and I raced home to see if he had walked home.  Charley is a very responsible kid and typically knows his schedule and follows the rules.  So I kept telling myself that he listened to me and walked home, not realizing that I forgot he had service club.

When I pulled up he was standing on our front porch.  He smiled but then his smile wavered when he saw my eyes.  They were frantic and teary.  I pulled into the garage and could see in the rear view mirror that he too, realized that this hadn't been the plan.  I let out one loud wail in the car and then pulled myself together, because I wanted him to know that I was proud of him for getting himself home safely.  And the discussion would be more effective if I wasn't breaking down in a crying fit.

But man alive, what a good wake up call for both Charley and I.  He claimed he thought I had forgotten.  So this was a good chance to talk about what to do if you think mom forgot.  What to do if he arrived home and I wasn't there.  How the best choice is to stay put with the adult caring for him and they can call me if he is worried I forgot or am late!

We are all human and we take on this job as parents without any training and I am so grateful for the moments when we are gifted a lesson that may have been scary and may have left me shaking in my boots....but, also opened the door to teachable moments so bigger catastrophes can be avoided.

If you are immersed in the first 12 months of your baby's life give yourself a break when you have these close calls and what if moments in the coming years.  See them for the lessons they offer.  We are our harshest critics and pickiest judges.   I know that tonight as I fall asleep I will wrestle with all the horrible what ifs that could have happened today and I dread that hour when I lay in bed tonight and know if there was a game show where parents won if they could come up with extreme what ifs for certain happenings - I would come home the grand prize winner.

Close calls are scary.
Close calls don't just go away, they sit in our mind and hearts until the next one comes along.
Close calls are human.
Close calls are part of being a mama and watching your heart live outside of your body in these three little miracles that you brought into this world.  

Close calls....what ifs....what are your thoughts....


shellycoulter said...

That is scary! I lost Eli in Kohls once when he was three. He was only missing for about five minutes total...but I was freaking out, yelling for him. We were all looking at boys clothes. Sim was in the cart stroller. My mom and Matt were with me. Eli was playing in the displays...then he was gone. None of us could find him. I was literally yelling for him after about a minute. Very loudly. I yelled The three of us split up...I yelled for Matt to go to the front of the store and I was so scared for those few minutes. I asked a worker to help me. She saw I was panicking and she looked just as panicked like she didn't know what to do. Then I heard "Would Eli's Mom please come to customer service" That's when I lost it and the tears started flowing becuase I knew he was okay. I feel teary just thinking about it and it was two years ago!! He was just wondering through the displays which were taller than him and got lost. Started walking to look for us and ended up on the other side of the store. A worker saw him wondering and tried to talk to him. He said his name but then walked away and wouldn't talk to her. She just followed him around because she didn't want to freak him out by trying to take him to customer service. The customer service lady used a little walkie talkie and took me to them. Eli wasn't crying until he saw me and my panic. It was so scary and I was thankful it turned out fine. Definitely a close call that I never forget when we shop now!

The Tompkins Family said...

This brought tears to my eyes. So glad it was a happy ending. And you couldn't be more right...close calls are our gifts, they really help me snap back into attention when I get too comfortable. Big hugs, my friend.

Beth said...

And this is why my daughter's ring tone on my phone is "Mom, you forgot to pick me up!" I'm so forgetful; thank goodness for cellphones! My younger daughter had one at 7 cause we had to leave her at the soccer field. Glad all is okay

Anonymous said...

Wow! What a story - SO glad everything turned out okay! Don't let your mind think of the what ifs, every time you do - thank God He brought him home safe and say a little thankful prayer to God - He really helps in times of need and in ANY time!!!! Jamie Trampe

Raina and Andy said...

Good post bc it hits home for so many. It's easy to let little things slide and then boom! Once I was sitting watching the boys play in the bathtub and right in front of me hugh fell backwards (he's very steady) and he could not figure out how to sit back up. I freaked out. Of course I was right there to sit him up but scares me that andy would turn his back or go to room next door for 20 sec to get a towel etc. life is so precious and we are allll so Lucy to make it through each day. Even with all our precautions. How did so many make it in the olden days when people weren't so careful? Rr


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