In becoming a mom I accepted the responsibility of watching over my child. Navigating the often hectic streets of New York City with my daughter, I make painstaking efforts to see and hear everything – the bikers speeding on the sidewalk, the construction and scaffolding above, the cars zooming along the highway, the deafening noise of the sirens. One afternoon while trying to cross the street a truck nearly swiped the stroller – thankfully I was paying attention and we both walked away unharmed, but my awareness was permanently heightened. My one job is to protect my child. With all the attention to detail and the strong desire to control even the tiniest bit of our universe, she winds up getting hurt in our home and on my watch – accidents happen.
In respect to the greater world and the plethora of daily tragedies, her injuries were minor. Only days apart she slid into a door, cutting her head, and then face planted hard on the floor leaving a spotted trail of blood. These accidents were in some ways totally avoidable and that is the reason I’m having a difficult time forgiving myself. I am confidently aware that I’m not a perfect person, a perfect mom, or a perfect wife, but it’s frustrating to accept the notion that accidents happen – how is that the final answer when it concerns the well being of a child? I know these incidents in particular were not my fault, at least in my rational mind, but the incessant feelings of guilt haven’t left my side.
On every report card I received growing up, before the numeric grades, my teachers wrote conscientious – my desire to do the right thing started long before I would call myself a mom. I know I’m not alone – I just want to keep my child safe, is that so hard to ask? If the news tell us anything though, apparently it is.
Regardless of my feelings, I sensed there was a lesson to be learned in all of this. The sad reality is that despite all of our valiant and sincere efforts as parents, accidents do happen. I can keep my daughter safe on the streets of New York City, but pulling up her sagging pants sends her flying across the living room floor – it doesn’t make sense, but that’s the frustrating part about accidents – they never do.
I am fortunate beyond belief for the minor bumps and bruises I’ve witnessed as a parent thus far and my guilt will eventually fade, I know this. I’ve come to realize that a huge part of parenting is learning to let go and accept the realities I can not control – this is a huge hurdle for my conscientious and reflective mind.
I wish I had a shred of wisdom to share, but I can only offer you my experience and understanding. My heart grew tenfold when I became a parent and seems it these feelings are here to stay – it’s the deal we make with love – it’s never fully lets you go.