Apr 9, 2010

I'll Tumble for You

He fell off the back steps a few days ago and managed to scrape a fantastically belligerent red welt right down the middle of his face. A bruise the size of a small quail's egg on his forehead angry with purple and gold leading the way to his nose rubbed raw from being scrapped against the sidewalk. His chin survived almost unscathed with the exception of a nice little scrape. This is what happens when you don't realize you have feet attached to your body. Joaquin does not realize that his legs attach to these unfathomable things called feet, that get him to where he needs to go. Rufus and I are constantly pleading with him to watch where he is stepping. Sometimes this pleading is plaintive and gentle but most of the time it's shouted and rushed out in panicked voices too late to do anyone any good. A test. This is all a test of a sanity I did not know I needed to possess to have a child. You need to have a steely constitution for this work. This raising of a human being is queasy business fraught with a constant and never ending worry so encompassing it has the capacity to age you in a heartbeat.

I am not a worrier by nature. I am not anxious or prone to easy panic. I would like to think it takes a fair bit for me to get seriously stressed out. But. But that was before. Now is another story all together. Since Joaquin was born, I have this insane existential worry that can sometimes be both debilitating and consumptive. It is encompassing in its scope and depth. I have these horrible thoughts about things I hate having horrible thoughts about. About him getting hurt. Or lost. Or in an accident. Drowning. Getting hit by lightening. Tornadoes. Bitten by dogs or rabid raccoons. The list is endless in its minutia and it makes me insane that I can be this insane. I know. Cliche. It's what everyone talks about once they have a child but it doesn't seem to stop it from being painfully and glaringly true.

My mother has four children. Along with myself there is one brother and two sisters. We have long since lived out from under our parent's roof but still, my mother, worries. And for years I didn't have a context for this. I thought she was just being dramatic and overly cautious. But now I know. My mother is a mother the same way that I am now a mother myself. I am destined for this life of toeing this delicate line. The line between taking care of this blooming becoming person and my own need to keep him sheltered and safe. My mother and I now understand each other in a whole new light. This is beautiful and validating but also sad to me somehow as well. That for all those years I couldn't see what that look in her eyes was telling me. It was saying be careful. You are mine and I love you....and yes, I will be sleeping on the couch until I hear you come home, no matter what time it is....because I am your mother, that's why.

I have written about this before and now I am reminding myself of those very words. It is not my job to keep my son static and small. It is my job to lead him into the world, brave and strong on his own two little sturdy legs with feet he doesn't know he has, and set him free to run into the unknown of this life. Even if he loses a tooth. Even if he gets hit by lightning. That is my job after all. And no one said it would be easy. But damn if it isn't the most exciting thing I've done so far.

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