All mamas are programmed to protect. From our earliest days of parenthood, we child-proof and sanitize our homes, yards, cars, Grandma’s house, and buggies at Target. I’ve actually been known to sanitize other people’s children, in my more zealous moments. All new mamas have.
We cover electrical outlets, pad corners, anchor furniture, prop open doors, and install cabinet locks. And that’s before our babies are even ready to crawl.
My son was already a toddler by the time he came to me. There was no containing him then, just as there is no stopping him now- but I surely tried. I fenced and cross-fenced the interior of our base housing unit like a boss.
Don’t touch that. Don’t wipe that. Don’t pick that. Don’t eat that.
I slept on the floor underneath his toddler bed when his fever was high, because I was afraid he’d have a seizure in the middle of the night. And because I’m a nurse. And a little medical knowledge is dangerous.
I kept all the medicine locked in a fire-proof safe. Until my husband called me at work in a panic. Somehow the ‘baby’ had managed (with a torch, evidently) to get ahold of a bottle of vitamins, and gobbled them all down! I gave him the number to poison control, and flew home, fully expecting to rush right back to the hospital. I found them both sitting in the kitchen floor crying. I scooped up the little one, and the vitamin bottle clutched in his fat little fist. Vitamin C. He wasn’t going to die. But I was gonna want to with all the diapers I’d be changing. Lack of a little medical knowledge is also dangerous.
No matter how hard I tried to be everywhere, I couldn’t. He broke his nose. He almost broke his arm. He got a
cavity. He fell out of a swing and landed on his head. Well, okay- I was there for that one… It was a swing I pushed, and a fall he has never let me forget.
He is already both fearless and dauntless. Fearlessness comes is handy when I need a fellow adrenaline junkie to ride the biggest coasters with me. And not so handy when I catch him twenty feet up the neighbor’s tree. In the dark.
He is never deterred by obstacles. Mostly he doesn’t see obstacles as deterrents.
While he learns to fly, I am learning to let him. Knowing me, I will always want to pick him up, dust him off, and put him together again. All good mamas do.
I have stopped trying to pack him in styrofoam, or encase him in bubble-wrap. He says I’m taking all the fun out of crashing. Don’t all good mamas try?
Not all obstacles can be predicted, prevented, or circumvented. Sometimes he just has to fall back and reconsider his way. He knows I’m right here when he needs me. All good mamas are.
Be blessed, Y’all. All mamas have been.