I grabbed his arm, with more force than probably should be. I was already tired from a long day and him acting up and flat out not listening was more than enough. “Besides” I reasoned with myself “There is a busy street right there, what if he ran out into it.” And while that was true, and that was my reasoning, I couldn’t help but file it away in things that needed thought over.
Lately I catch myself saying it. “Be careful” “Careful” “Don’t go there…don’t do that” “Stay away” “Don’t hurt yourself!” “Careful!!!” I cringe whenever I say it – knowing I sound like a broken record and knowing the kids hate me to say it. Logic tells me they don’t want to hurt themselves – give them some freedom. Stop breathing down their necks and watching their every move. Let. Them. Breath.
But I still do it. I still grab him as he runs into a road that while quiet, could have very easily had a car on it. I hold him back, don’t let him do things I see as “dangerous” because I don’t want him to get hurt. And so it is, I place him in his bubble and pretend everything will be ok because he is in his bubble where no harm can reach him. I do it in the name of “Protecting” but really, I do it because I feel I must. Something inside of me wont let him have fun, because fun can lead to danger and danger elsewhere. Thats my logic, logic that isnt always true.
I hate doing it, but looking at them, I see timers. I see numbers, I wonder how long, and when, and where. I wonder if I will be able to stop it, or if like so many times before – I will have to stand helplessly by the side.
This time of year gets me. And while its true that time does heal, and does help, and I am ok, really. Its still a bit hard. Because while logic tells you that he doesn’t WANT to hurt himself, logic also tells you that your daughter WONT die, because she cant. Because shes your world, and well, it just CANT and wont happen. And logic can kiss my ass because its not always true. Its false hope that things will be ok, even when you know they wont be.
My days of living as an innocent bystander have passed. Sure – there are days when I am able to watch the kids play and not do a thing about it. I don’t yell at them to be careful. Or to watch for cars. And inside something tells me that if something should happen to them, it will be on me. As if telling them repeatedly to be careful is going to stop everything bad from happening to them.
I know, somewhere deep down inside, that there is nothing I can do that will protect them from everything headed their way. I know this. I understand this. But some reason, telling them to be careful, puts that thought away. It tells me that I am doing the best I can, and even then some. It tells me that I am “protecting” them from every evil headed their way and if I hold them back, put them in their respective bubbles – they will be here to see the morning.
But with every cough, every fever, every mention of a headache, or feeling tired – My heart skips a beat and jumps to conclusions and instead of simply writing it off as a common cold, I have their funerals planned in my head. Because that’s just how my mind works these days. There isn’t something as simple as a cold. Or as common as the flu. There isn’t something known as second chances, or do over’s.
It’s a constant fight with myself. Let them go. Let them grow. Let them learn. Let them live. But if I do…am I signing them away to death? Am I failing them?
Logic has failed me more than once, logic says babies are born healthy, they grow up with a normal childhood, and reach adult hood where they continue to live long lives. Logic says there is no such thing as childhood diseases, and evil around every corner. Logic says that children don’t, shouldn’t, CANT, die. And yet they do. Logic is not to be trusted. But what is?
If something as simple as childhood can be tainted with something as evil as cancer – then I don’t think anything can be. I will continue to grab him as he runs for the street. I will tell them to be careful – if maybe not so much. I will try to put them in their bubbles and run from everything I see as evil. Even though I know there are things that I cant see, and cant protect them from. I will do my best to let them grow, and let them go – and hope. With everything in me that it doesn’t kill them.