I am a worry wart. I worry about lots of things, but most consistently and passionately about the safety of my kids. Nights at the lake I spent tossing and turning picturing Chip slipping on the upper deck, knocking himself unconscious as he falls two stories into an 80 foot lake. Harold paddling out in a kayak, it flips, knocks him in the head and he goes down. Nevermind that both of them wore life vests a good portion of the time and when they didn't I was like a hawk watching them. It was very restful.
That is nothing new for me though. In our neighborhood, some Realtor puts out little small American flags in everyone's driveway for the Fourth of July. Should just be a nice patriotic image, right. Not in my mind. No, I imagine one of my boys crashing their bike and that flag impaling them in the eye or something. Isn't that pleasant? Just one of a number of scenarios that plague my thoughts. Again very relaxing to be inside my head.
I try to quiet the worry. I think I probably need medication for it. I know for sure that I annoy the heck out of my boys with "Don't do this, Don't do that, Watch out for this, Watch out for that, This could happen, That could happen". I even annoy myself. I try to squelch it so as to not make my kids scared of doing things. I don't want to pass on my paranoia to them. It would not be a legacy they would want.
So, I try to swallow my fears and let them be boys. Let them rough house, ride without holding on to their handlebars, jump from a two story dock, climb a tree, etc. I am not sure what other dangerous stuff I let go on, but there is plenty and I am sure it a suvival technique that I have just blocked it from my memory. I would like to wrap them in bubble wrap, with a nice big opening for their mouth and nose, and make them sit on the couch till they are thirty.
But I can't do that and once again today I buried my fears and let Chip do something that worried me from the git go. Both the boys have been walk/running a mile on the treadmill for the last couple of days. The treadmill sits maybe two feet from my desk. Today Chip got on there and did his normal stunts. He doesn't just walk or just run, he constantly is moving the incline up and down, speeding up, slowing down, running, jumping off, hopping up on the side rails. I have given him many speeches, much guidance on the proper way to use a treadmill. He gives me an exasperated look that I translate as "Geez lady, it's walking for crying out loud." Today, again he was going way faster than I thought was safe. He was actually running at a 5.5 mph clip, so proud of himself. Look at me mom. I was actually pretty impressed but told him to slow it down. He did - but not before he gave me the "You are so annoying" look. Within just a few minutes he had fallen down, was stuck between the wall and the back of the treadmill with the belt still running. Horrible situation played out right in front of me.
I panicked, because that is what I do. I screamed, clawed at the machine, pulling the emergency cord, hitting the off button. He was not there for more that 15 or 20 seconds, but that was enough to for that stupid belt to take a couple of good layers of skin off his neck and back.
He was crying, I was crying.
What if I hadn't been standing right there? What if is had been his face? Why wasn't he wearing a shirt (seems to be an epidemic this summer)? Why didn't he have the safety cord attached to his pants? Why do we have the damn treadmill so close to the wall? A thousand questions running through my mind.
He says to me "I'm sorry Mom". I said "No reason for you to be sorry. I am sorry. I am 43 years old and I knew better. I knew it wasn't safe and I still let you do it. Now you are hurt and I feel terrible." Guilt, guilt, guilt - a big ol' huge helping of mommy guilt. It's my favorite.
I made him get in the shower so we could clean it up a bit. As he is climbing in the shower, still crying a bit he looks at me and says "Don't blog about this. (two second pause....) No, its okay, you can." I just laughed and said "I won't blog about it if you don't want me to." He says "No, you should." I think he might need some sympathy people, so if you see him, please ask to see his injury.
Worst day of his life he tells me. Never has he been hurt this bad. Then he says "Well, I guess it is pretty good that I didn't have to go to the hospital." Yes, it is pretty good.
He is going to be fine. It is bright red like a bad sunburn. He is already back to eating, drinking, running (stubbed his toe, too!) and playing with his buddy.
I sit here and feel just awful. This damn parenting business is hard. Seems obvious that I should not have let him run like that. Could kick myself for allowing it. Seemed like such a nice healthy thing to do. Never want to discourage a kid that wants to run or walk. Oh, the consequences. Anyway, there is no rewind button for life, it is done. All I can do now is order a gross of industrial size bubble wrap and pay for express shipping to get it here by tomorrow.