up late (9:37 pm. my college-self would beat up my now-self.), listening to the pre-halloween chatter from my eldest children that will. not. sleep. i gave up coercing (caring) exactly 37 minutes ago. i will pay for their adult therapy.
just a quick thought tonight. or maybe it’ll come out a question.
yesterday, while my dad was hauling suitcases to his ford in the driveway before he & my mom hit the road for branson, i thought i’d do double duty by joining him outside & letting leify loose from the evil confines of our house. (kid loves an outdoor adventure.) me, being completely unable to sit still, decided it was prime time to build a bonfire. we have an old spin basin from a washing machine. classy, i realize, & totally functional & free. awesome, actually. i was a little unsure, but no more.
there’s little i love more than a fire.
anyway, with leif toddling around finding sticks on the ground, i added sticks from our downed tree across the yard, logs, egg cartons, & paper. it was a two-match fire. niiiiiice.
then, because i am completely unable to sit still (mentioned that yet?), i called my cousin to catch up. while i was hanging out RIGHT BESIDE THE FIRE. & leify, who was toddling around, happily.
you know where this is going.
it took 1.2 seconds to sweep him into the house once his spiderman shoe tripped & his tiny hand hit the edge of the metal & he screamed. & half a second to get him under cold water while trying to assess the damage & get his coat off & my coat off so i could hold him close to my chest & answer the four-year-old asking about his green pants in the dryer (i can’t make this stuff up.).
& then he was mostly okay, while he laid his sweet little curly head on my shoulder, burned arm up on my other shoulder, one big hug because maybe i even felt worse than he did.
& all i could think, smeared in guilt, was:
why did i even have my cell phone out there?
why did i put those too big shoes on him?
can i not just STOP MOVING & pay attention?
this poor little child, & it’s all. my. fault.
to which my sweet husband answered each in the negative. no, it’s not your fault.
of course, it isn’t. accidents happen.
& i’m thinking, “but maybe they don’t happen to me.”
boom. that’s where it was. a tragic, ridiculous sense of over-control. & guilt, that unholy child of fear & responsibility. i cannot stop the world from spinning any more than i can protect my babes from each & every spit & tremble, to wrap them in mommy wrap, so help me God. but darn it if i’m not trying.
leif fell asleep shortly after that & slept a very healing two hours, apparently, waking up to nothing more than a runny nose, nary a thought to his tiny burned arm. by the good hand of God, the burn didn’t even bubble. & today, he just looked at it, & touched the small, round place that was open & wet. the spot that would kill an adult.
so, maybe in the Wisdom of Heaven, this is a something sifted out for me, to loosen my white-knuckled control on my children. i get tears behind my eyes just writing that.
& i’m not gonna lie; i believe all things happen for a reason, from a Reason. maybe yesterday afternoon was possibly not so bad.
maybe i needed a prod in my heart to unearth some sludge. some lies. some mommy misconceptions about my whole role in this big adventure of parenting.
maybe, just maybe. i’m still digesting this one.