I found a time capsule today. A shoe box in the hidden depths of my closet. For a few seconds I didn't actually know what it was, which as you know, is often the case with items we choose to store in the hidden depths of our closets. But as soon as I began pulling the lid off I remembered. Inside were the clothes that Micah was wearing the day he ran his bike into the Washington Park Bandshell and wound up in the emergency room getting stitched back together. The complete outfit, from undershirt, boxers and socks, to corduroy pants and cargo jacket. Every last item that I meticulously washed blood out of and then smoothed and folded and stored away, making certain that he would never have the opportunity to wear any of it again, as if the clothes were responsible for his injury.
That was the worst day of my life. It was my first real reminder that despite everything, you can't always protect your children. I still have flashbacks to that day, to those moments immediately following his crash, when it was just me and him and we were both screaming and there was blood everywhere and I literally thought I could see his brain, like SEE HIS BRAIN, which by the way is not something you really ever want to see, and thankfully I did not, I just thought I did which was bad enough, but I digress. In those moments I learned a few things about myself, and about life and about parenting.
First of all, seeing your child injured is perhaps one of the scariest things you will ever go through as a parent, it will change you a little. This was the first time that something scary, really frightening, happened to one of my kids and it made me aware that up until then I'd sort of been living in some sort of la-la land where I could protect them from anything and everything if I just tried hard enough. Realizing that "hard enough" may not always save them from injury, from pain, well that was like a punch to the gut type of parenting lesson that felt more than hard enough.
Second of all, I'm terrible in an emergency. Seriously, the worst. Yeah sure I wrapped up the bleed immediately and applied pressure and called 911 and all that, but I also cried, nope, make that screamed the entire time. Ask Micah just how comforting that was, although he doesn't really remember much seeing as how he was barely 3 years old when it happened. Whose brilliant idea was it to remove his training wheels again?
You would be amazed by how resilient kids are. How quickly they heal all their broken bits.
He was ready to get back in the saddle in no time, and part of me was screaming "no" and wishing that I had maybe donated his bike to Goodwill or accidentally backed the car over it while pulling out of the drive or something, because lets face it part of me was scared out my mind by the realization that my baby was breakable. But another part of me knew just how important it was to let him get back on his bike and ride around the neighborhood, just maybe not down any big hills.
I was going to try and wrap this all up with some big talk about how much I've learned since then and how difficult parenting can be and how even when life is scary we shouldn't let it hold us back and yadda yadda. I've been thinking about it all afternoon, thinking about Micah and about that day and how scared I felt and the guilt I carried around for weeks afterwards. And the truth is I don't have any "big talk" to tie it all together, I don't have an explanation for why accidents happen or why I'm a crisis screamer. I just know that I will try my hardest to not let it happen again, try my best to protect my children no matter what, but I will make sure that I am still enjoying myself in the process. We all know it's no fun to feel scared all the time, especially when you have so many littles embarking upon so many new adventures every single day. Life can be dangerous and you have to take risks.
But there is WAY more to be thrilled and excited about than there is to be fearful of and you have to decide what will motivate your decisions in the long run.
We choose love and hope to lead the way.
And don't forget about belly button lint, it can be a powerful motivator as well!
I went with the 50 mm f/1.8 and am having a ball playing around with it. I still have so much to learn, but I am ready so bring it on!