In College, I worked at a preschool. In my classroom, I had a wide range of kids with different abilities. One kid I will probably never forget had a trach tube, and another kid who liked to pull it out. There were several times I had to reinsert the tube into the neck of a flailing child who was turning blue (I had him from time he was 1-3) so he could breath.
I shook like a leaf and was scared out of my mind but I did it and I remained calm. Somehow.
When I graduated, I was a nanny for five kids. During a trip to a 'mommy and me' class, one of the little guys got his finger stuff in a gate and it was nearly severed off. Somehow I remained calm. I was in total shock but I remained calm in what I needed to do.
Now, I have my own child. I am relaxed about a lot of things but I have realized that when it comes to my own child, I am more than protective. I feel a maternal urge deep into my soul to protect him. To keep him safe. To hold him close.
As he is growing independence, it is something I find myself worrying about on a daily basis. What if he falls and hits his head? What if he figured out how to get through the basement door and fall down the stairs? What if I'm not there to catch him?
So, I have turned into a helicopter parent...well, you know besides the the fact that he refuses to leave my side thanks to separation anxiety. I still manage to hover over him like a floating aircraft.
Yet, he still manages to escape my grasp and explore the world on his own. He discovered the dog's dishes, stands on his own , and tries to shove anything he can find in his mouth BUT I am right there to catch him if he were to fall or to make sure nothing 'choke worthy' (yes, I made a up a word) goes into his mouth.
His first steps are nearing. I can feel it and I'm not ready. Not ready for him to turn into that walking toddler. Not ready for him to run away from me. Most of all, not ready for the boo-boo's and the bruises that come a long with this new found independence.
I'll be honest. I have been in a true emergency and kept my calm but with other people's children but can I do it for my own? Did I love those kiddo's, yes but it does not compare to the love you feel for your own and that maternal urge you feel deep inside to protect that tiny soul. The hurt that you feel when they are hurting. The pain you feel when you can't make it go away.
Last night, we went on our second bike ride. This time at a less than straight trail with what I felt like was the biggest hill on earth since I knew my child would be sailing down it. I yelled at Blake and told him to slow down and 'be careful!' but as I looked over at my son, I saw a light in his eyes.
A light that was so bright and so full of excitement and curiosity.
I slowed down and let him have his fun and listened to him giggle and sing. I let him be. There will always be times when I'm not there to catch him. I can't put him in a bubble (though I wish I could) and keep him safe from all that life entails.
I can put a band-aid on his first boo-boo.
I can hold him close when his heart is broken for the first time. or the 3rd.
I can hold his hand when he is scared.
I can be there for him when he needs me to be.
I might not always be there when something happens but I'll always be there FOR him.
I'll always be there to catch him.