Speeding Toward the Big Stuff

There is no other way to describe this past Friday than messy.

I don’t mean that in a figurative sense, but in a very literal sense. Specifically, it was bloody.

I got a phone call Friday morning while I was still at the podcast studio that my son had fallen in school. But not just a run of the mill trip and scrape—a face-first plunge into a table.

There was blood, I was told, but he was okay.

The end result? What was already a precariously-connected front tooth turned into majorly-loose; and its neighbor—previously very snug in its little pocket—was now hanging on by a very literal thread.

I wasn’t, and I’m still not, ready to look at the face of my 5-year-old and see those two little teeth gone. But now it looks like we are speeding toward that very Big-Kid jack-o-lantern face much quicker than I expected.

No matter. Kids grow, right? Teeth fall out. Moms adjust.

And then, that very night, kids tucked in and snoozing, me on a high after a rapid carpet-steaming session and cleanup of my closet (what can I say? Weird things excite me.) and the house otherwise quiet, my husband and I tucked into bed, ready to relax. After spending two months convincing him that We must see Tully! I’ve heard suuuuch good things about it!, we were interrupted literally the moment before she was ready to have her baby by that distinctive THUD that all parents recognize as the universal Oh-Crap-My-Kid-Fell-Out-of-Bed moment.

And he did.

Our poor little guy who’d already had quite the day at school was now bleeding again, this time from his ear, which he had knicked on the corner of his nightstand as he fell to the floor.

Again, blood. This time, all over his pillow and sheets, the metallic smell stinging my nose as I held his shaking body—five rags and dozens of snuggles and countless assurances of “it’s going to be all right” later—he fell back to sleep.

There is little more frightening for a parent to realize than the fact that, inevitably, the world at large inevitably sets in to their lives.

Our kids grow, and the grips of our control fade, for better and for worse. Our preferences and opinions and carefully-constructed boundaries and rules slowly fall away.

Whether they’re little bloody moments or big ones that throw their ships off course, it’s all right outside our door, and it’s all happening, whether or not we parents are ready for it.

It’s a tough reminder. A reminder that we raise our children, our grip on their lives is tenuous, in every sense. We can tether their hearts with love, we can soak them in snuggles, pelt them with advice, but they still walk into the world at some point very much on their own.

It’s a tough reminder. A reminder that we raise our children, our grip on their lives is tenuous, in every sense. We can tether their hearts with love, we can soak them in snuggles, pelt them with advice, but they still walk into the world at some point very much on their own.

Yesterday, when I picked him up from school after accident number one and scooped him up to hold him on my hip—all 60 pounds of him—my son wiggled down, eyes embarrassedly pointing toward the pavement, with one quiet request:

“No, mom.”

I set him down.

It’s the first time I wasn’t his haven. I wasn’t his go-to. Not at least right then, not while everyone else was watching.

This little person whose world was once me and only me; whose nights I kept; whose days I planned, is now marching, fast-forward, into the world.

He’s not just my baby anymore; he’s… well… himself. An individual with opinions and preferences–his mom’s love of carrying him be damned.

And then that same night, after accident number two, after tears were dried and rags laid on top of his pillow to catch any errant blood, bed cleaned and back rubbed and assurances given, I tickled his back, and I watched as his eyes got heavy with sleep.

And right then–right at that moment–it was a different story. Maybe it was the exhaustion. Maybe it was the absence of the watching eyes of his friends. Whatever it was, he let me in.

I took my moment. I breathed in the smell of his sweaty neck. I felt the back whose width I once spanned with my palm, now plainly broader and stronger. I ran my fingers through his curls. And I let that small moment be enough.

The world may be coming for us, but when it’s still and quiet and everything is all cleaned up, he and I? We’re still in this together.

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2 thoughts on “Speeding Toward the Big Stuff

  1. Sonni, I’m reading and rereading this post and feel for you. Hubby and I never got to experience the joys and sadness of parenthood. But…we ARE living that through your and your hubby’s issues. May God always give you the wisdom to respond as needed through each situation. ❤️

    • Alice, you are so kind. Thank you so much for reading, and I’m honored you enjoy checking in on us. It really is a roller coaster, but worth every crazy moment. Much love to you and yours!!

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