I’ll just come right out and say it, sometimes I feel strong and amazing and superhero like, like I can do it all. I have these days where I feel like I’ve got it all under control, and I like it that way. I make lists and follow schedules and it’s all a way of helping me keep my shit together. Order is the opposite of chaos. This is intensified by being into my 30s which has proven to be a great decade. I know who I am, I feel confident, beautiful at times, sexy in others, and I can put my best foot forward and feel good about the direction I’m moving in. Running has helped shape all of this too. Once I thought I was unable to do anything physical or be an athlete. I have shattered that silly notion.
All of this helps me with Harry, especially because he has different needs than most kids his age. It helps me deal with him, and it also helps me deal with my emotions. I keep it together, until I can’t. I break down, and I move on. Like a check list – I’m good, check, I’m good, check, I’m not good, check, I’m good again, check. You need to have a system!
So every day I follow Harry around and my Mom brain calculates every turn and every movement he’s making. I try to stay close enough to help and far enough to give him freedom, coming closer in more “dangerous” situations. I am trying to evolve and back off more and more, know he needs to be safe but also experience everything including negative consequences in order to learn. I still try to prevent him from falling, and if I’m paying attention I save him 90-something percent of the time. I can see when he’s off balance and usually I get there before he hits the floor. I like the save. It makes me feel useful.
We also have a couple of routines that work in making our day easier. When I’m trying to leave the house with my hands full, I now can put him down to walk the length of the path from our front steps to the car, and while he’s walking I pack the car with whatever we need. I know this is a safe, flat path he can navigate on his own. Months ago I used to put him in the car, then dash back in to collect my things. Recently I’ve had him stay with me at the top of our steps and help me close the door, then we walk down the two steps from the front door to the path and make our way to the car together. The other day, my sweet little Harry was being a downright asshole. There is really no other way to describe it. I know he’s deep in terrible toddler territory, but he really has been a sweet boy for most of it. This day was different. We had an hour of arguments. He kept pressing his case, arguing his grievances, he tested my defense, it was a rough trial. I decided a trip to the store would be in order and would help occupy Mr. Ants in his Pants. I rushed him out the door and put him down, and he refused to stay put. With my hands full, I watched him defy my orders and our normal routine and take a huge stride towards the edge of the top step. I tried to grab him but in the process I very unceremoniously dropped everything I was holding, let go of the screen door which promptly sent my tiny little jerk airborne and down the cement stairs, hitting each one with his melon and coming to rest at the bottom. Every ounce of anger left my body and I was left with sadness. I had missed the save.
My prizefighter is left with some scrapes on his face and on his head, and my heart broke a little. We promptly made our planned store trip and I bought him some trucks to heal the wounds (that’s logical parenting, isn’t it?). We all see our kids fall, and getting hurt is kind of a little kid’s right of passage. This just felt like a failure because I set him up for it, and I missed the chance to save him. That hurts. It bruises me right on my superhero cape. I had been walking around feeling all these good things, and this brought me right back down to Earth.
Fear not, good friends, I will not let this throw me asunder! I just wanted to highlight the good old emotional rollercoaster that is life. We have ups, we have downs, we have loops, and it’s all a fun ride. I will be there for more saves, but I will miss many, many more. Harry man will need to grow up to be a real man, and in order for that to happen he will need to learn to save himself. In the mean time, I hope I can kiss some more boo-boos and buy some healing trucks before he doesn’t need that anymore. And for now, enjoy Boo-Boo Face at the waterpark today (so cold he was shivering but refused to leave until he basically turned purple).