A1 is now 2 years and 8 months old. And still, if someone asks me how it feels to be a mom, my reply is: To always be terrified. To be a mom is, according to me, to always be on the lookout, if not expectation, that something dreadful is going to happen. Not to yourself, but to your child. Unknown, and known, dangers get an extra dimension, and even small things are big enough to keep me up at night. To be fair, some things have already happened that made me all too aware of how scary and big the world is. When I was pregnant with A2, I emptied a kettle of boiling water all over my thighs and legs. I got 3rd degree burns. And A1 was standing centimeters from me. It could have been her, luckily it wasn’t. Made me realise that accidents happen within the blink of an eye, and not always because someone was stupid or careless or malicious. Then, a few weeks back, she got out of our gate (we live on a VERY busy street with heavy truck traffic). By the grace of God I realised she was missing and somehow knew where she would be, and found her safe and sound at the other side of the road. How she got across the busy road escapes me. As I said, grace of God. I always thought that the fear will subside once she can do things for herself – not suffocate in her bed because she can turn from her tummy to her back. Not tangle herself in her blankets because she is mobile and wakes up when uncomfortable. Not choke because she can chew and have been eating solids for more than 2 years, etc. But no, the fear keeps on growing.
Now, I worry that someone is going to take her. Or hurt her. That kids will shun her, not play with her. Or that I won’t be able to provide for her. Worrying is becoming a full time occupation, and I have 2 to worry about!
This morning, we went for our weekly stroll. Just A1 and myself. Every week we walk to our local Spur, where I sit and work and she plays in the play area. We love this outing, it gives us a bit of bonding time while still giving me enough time to get to my admin. Walking there, I kept imagining a car losing control and running us over. That is stupid, I can just about hear you say. But that is how my mind works. Having kids have made me super aware of my own mortality, as well as theirs. But if you are now worried about the fragility of my mind, or think that I wrap my kids in bubble wrap and keep them in the house to keep them out of harms way, you are very wrong. I actively encourage A1 to not be afraid, to do whatever she knows she is capable, and then a bit more. There is no such thing as “I cannot”. This is giving me grey hairs, but hopefully I will get used to the terror!
If you are scared like me, I hope you also share my view that kids need VERY wide limits, strict rules, but ample leeway. I hope that I am doing my bit in nurturing strong, independent people.