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The New Safety Queen

Posted by Patience on July 14, 2009 at 7:00 AM
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I have to confess I've never been one of those worried mothers regarding safety. I generally let my kids explore with an eye on them but some distance. They haven't really been accident prone, and usually listen to me. Today though, I had a very scary moment that kind of rearranged everything in my head.

We have street parking in my little neighborhood and today I parked across the street for early morning street cleaning tomorrow. It's a very narrow street and there isn't much traffic. I crossed and turned around to wait for Jack and Lucy who were getting out on the other side. While Jack just started to tell me he didn't want to cross the street alone, Lucy darted right into the path of a car. Jorge looking on yelled, the driver slammed on her breaks just missing my little girl.

The worst part was right before I was telling Jack to wait and all would be fine. His little intuition was on, mine, the mother, was not. I just wanted to get in the house so I could cry, instead I couldn't stop shaking for the rest of the night. Lucy and I spent the next half hour practicing crossing the street together.

I'm sure it will take awhile to shake this feeling of terror in my heart . I think we'll be much more aware and careful over here. I'll take the gift of her safety, hold her tight and try not to think about what might have happened.

Have you ever had anything scary happen with your kids? Are you generally laidback or more intense when it comes to safety? Maybe somewhere in the middle? Tell us your stories in the comments.


Liz K writes...

Oh, Patience, how frightening! I am trying to work out this same feeling, as my 6 year old son broke his arm last week falling out of a tree. I, too, am not particularly anxious about safety, and have chosen to let my kids free-range a bit, so climbing trees is just part of the deal. And for the hundreds of times that my son has climbed a tree, and the dozens of times he fell out, this was the time his arm broke.

But now I am in this place where I have to watch my kid like a hawk so that he doesn't fall so he does not re-injure his arm. I'm constantly reminding him to "be careful!" and "no, don't!" if he picks up a basketball with his cousin or starts to climb the jungle gym. It's really hard for a 6 year old not to horse around!

The challenge for me is when he gets his cast off -- I will need to give him the freedom he had before, and be able to strip off this fear of him hurting himself. I will have to stuff my anxiety every time he crosses the monkey bars or rides his bike or plays tough defense in soccer. He needs to get back to his life of kid-hood.

I don't want my son to live life being afraid to fall. He broke his arm, and man, it hurt. But a week later, it's not such a big deal. It's inconvenient, and there is a list of things he can't do. But he has a list just as long that he can do. I want him to know that life isn't about avoiding falls (literally and metaphorically), but about what happens AFTER you fall, the getting up, the adapting. It's all about resilience.

PatienceAuthor Profile Page writes...

It's so true, finding the balance of living life to the fullest while being wise about safety. Thanks Liz, I needed this reply.

nicole writes...

I think all moms have had a similar moment(s); maybe it was the car that nearly missed a child or a fall that could have been much worse...

Glad to know that Lucy is fine.

PatienceAuthor Profile Page writes...

Oh thank you Nicole!

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