So I was thinking the other day of how parenting is much like living the movie Final Destination. Yes, I do mean the one cheesy movie from 2000 where a kid has a premonition of his plane exploding on takeoff. He subsequently gets off the plane before it happens and convinces several people to get off with him as well. The plane then explodes, but the survivors are now being chased by death because they messed up the order in which they were supposed to die. Because of this, literally everything around them could lead to their next fatality. Their entire lives become devoted to predicting how something could kill them, and then trying to stop it from happening. This is parenting.
Let me give you an example: The other day, I was walking down the steps with my small child. She was holding onto the metal railing with her sweet little hand and making careful steps on the stone staircase. She has been able to walk up and down the stairs on her own for quite some time now, but the amount of times she falls when walking in a straight path always has me concerned with stairs. My husband doesn’t baby her anymore, and I try to follow suit and give her a healthy dose of freedom.
As she walks ahead of me, I have a scene flash through my mind in a “premonition-y” way. What if she trips? Or what if I trip instead? I’m a standard clumsy person. I could easily lose my footing. My mind travels this thought along to see myself toppling on my daughter, both of us rolling down the unforgiving staircase. So many bumps and bruises as every hit would be painful. A broken bone is almost inevitable. We fall to the bottom where we lay in a bloody heap. I am certain I have crushed my daughter, and the horror sinks in that this could be a fatal fall.
I envision the funeral, and the dazed state I would be in, trying to make sense of what had happened. I would never be able to forgive myself. I would not want to go on after that, but I would have to find a way to. I would probably turn to a life of chain smoking and bitter sarcasm to try and cope with the unimaginable (or in this instance, imaginable?) loss.
In real life, this “premonition” causes me to spring into action, alter my original course, and cautiously step in front of my daughter. This way, if she falls, she falls on me, and if I fall, I don’t crush her into death. The relief was instant.
I rejoice that I was able to make my move before anything catastrophic could potentially happen. In my head I thank God my child is alive and well. I try and appreciate her in a more profound way than I ever have before. What a close call this all was! Such a miracle that she is alive!
Anyone watching this would simply see a mother take a couple steps around her daughter, never knowing that in those few seconds I had played out a scenario that would define the rest of my life in a traumatized state. My face may have been a calm collected demeanor, but in my head my child just nearly escaped death.
Of course, I realized the ridiculousness that my imagination had gone to. I quickly reprimanded myself for thinking this way and putting myself through such undo stress. I am going to give myself a heart attack with these fictional and morbid scenarios! I tell myself that I will lighten up and not let my mind escape me in such a way. No more worrying!
I lift my head, put a smile on my face, and feel semi proud of myself about putting the needless fretting behind me. How wise I’m becoming to have such insight!
Having completed the stairs, I round the corner and almost make it a full two steps before I see my daughter running towards the direction of the parking lot. A parking lot with cars. Cars that are those metal death traps for running oblivious children…..