Friday, June 30, 2017

Danger everywhere

Walking to a Fun Somewhere
Yesterday, my two sons and I were crossing a road. We had walked along the sidewalk to a crosswalk. I looked both ways. I held their hands. There were no cars coming. We swiftly walked across the road. Suddenly the car parked on the far side of the road, to our left, backed up. Suddenly and quickly. I stopped. I pulled the boys back. The people on the sidewalk in front of us gasped. The car stopped. I finished the final few steps and moved onto the sidewalk with my boys. I gave the driver, who was now in the far lane--having done a u-turn out of his parking spot, a dirty look. He seemed a bit shocked, maybe apologetic. (The expression may have been my imagination, but I'm 99.99945% sure the guy wasn't trying to hit us.) Many of the people on the sidewalk shook their heads and said, "He didn't even look!" I calmly told my kids that's why we hold hands when we cross the road.
I tried not to look at my sons. I had to use everything I had inside me to hold back tears, stop my body from shaking, and chase away the image of my sweet little boys so close to the bumper of a 4,000 pound monster. I was right there with them, and I still almost failed them. Everything about our lives, all parts of our world, could have changed right in that instant. And I was leading them, hand-in-hand.

It wasn't a big deal. No actual damage happened. But it was still terrifying. And after it happened, I acted like it was no big deal. Because I wanted to be brave for my brave little boys.
Today, Facebook told me I hadn't written a blog post in a while. The memory of yesterday repeated itself, and I also remembered something I wrote a while ago. So, here it is.

Any time (ok, every time) I hand over one of my sweet little boys into the care of someone else, I want to send this letter with him.

I need you to take care of him.
I've been working hard to keep this little dude alive. I've been there to catch him when he ventured so high he ran out of the strength, or the bravery, for the climb down. I've been making sure he doesn't get hit by cars, or bitten by dogs. I've been keeping his skin safe from the sun, his belly safe from dirty toys and spoiled food, and his eyes and ears safe from nightmare-inducing scenes. I've been trying, at least.
Warning: No Answers Inside
Keeping him alive really has been hard work at times. Because kids are people, with their own minds and ideas, not lumps of clay. And sometimes my little guy's brain tells him to run across a busy parking lot, or follow a stranger with a dog, or reach for shiny objects without even wondering if they could be sharp.
I know you are a trained professional. Or a loving relative. Or a trusted friend. And you will most likely do your best. Hopefully you care. I know everything will, most likely, be ok. But there are so many scary exceptions. The lunatic wild card who penetrates the force field surrounding the school. The risk with even a minor surgery that things can go very very wrong. The unwritten reasons there's a line on the playpark waiver saying the staff and company aren't responsible if my kid gets hurt or dies. DIES! No matter that rarity of each possibility, the possibilities are still there. And the accidents. The countless accidents. Even if everyone on the internet can find someone to blame, there are still accidents, maybe even some with absolutely no one at fault.
I trust you enough to hand the most precious person, the most precious anything, in my life over to your care. But I can never trust you completely. I can never trust me completely. He is more important than both of us.
Please, take care of my little boy. Please.

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