Our house is located – hopefully not forever but definitely for now – in the burbs. Which means that, although the traffic isn’t super fast, it is right outside our front door. And there are curves on both sides so, needless to say, it ain’t a safe place for a one year old who doesn’t understand the mechanics of impact.
A while ago after I’d brought groceries in and was putting them away in the kitchen, the house sounded strangely silent. I called her name, heard nothing and instantly remembered I had forgotten to lock the front door. You guessed it. She was out the front door.
Here’s what I learned.
1) I am a dang fast sprinter. I had a two month old and, as I was sprinting down our hallway, felt my insides move up and down and all over. Really fast but in slow motion. That’s weird, I thought, perhaps, my womb had dislodged itself from any other part of my body and was is floating around. Perhaps I am so fast that my insides got whiplash. After I found her playing by the car, nearly crushed her with hugs, and brought her back inside, I thought that was perhaps the fastest I’d ever run in my whole life. Never for track and field. Never in sports. Never while trying to get in shape. Only when my baby was (or at least could have been) in grave danger.
2) The urge to protect my children is stronger and more violent than any emotion I’ve ever felt regarding myself. This is all melodramatic, I know, but in those moments between realizing she was outside and getting to her, I felt a huge deep panic and fear that made my stomach turn in a way it never had before and hasn’t since. Having had an adventurous set of 20’s I have been in
a few way too many situations that could have or were near to turning ugly. But I’ve never been so immediately and drastically impacted as that moment. In an instant imagining all the ways she could be seriously hurt between the few seconds it would take to get to her was enough to drop my blood pressure to dangerous depths.
3) It is always better to be safe than sorry. I “learn” this lesson every time something ugly happens with my kids, yet I seem to regularly fail the re-test. Oh, it’s only for two seconds. Oh, I just turned the other way and BHAM baby jumps off bed. I try to keep a “better safe than sorry” attitude and, being a neurotic, I usually succeed. However, it is always the times I wasn’t more safe than sorry that something goes off. Having said that, one cannot prepare for every possible negative situation in the whole world and I know that. Things will happen and I am not superhuman. But, times like this do remind me that, when the thought actually comes “should I take an extra second and do this or not?” I usually do.
4) We can’t guard against every possible scenario, no matter how hard we try. Sure, I could have locked it and that wouldn’t have happened. But I’ve guarded against other things and she’s found a way around them. I’ve turned my back for one moment and had a baby dive off the bed. A small puddle under the baby’s crawling knee and bham, faceplant on the tile floor. Falling at exact angles to hit corners of things,etc. One can’t remove every hard surface or corner from a house. All we can do is try our best, watch after them as best we can, and seriously instil some good sense and wisdom regarding health and safety as soon as they’re able to understand!