Tuesday, March 5, 2013
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....
at 9:35 AM Posted by For the Love of Naps - Sarah