How Do Parents Not Go Crazy?

Sometimes it all seems so fragile, and so random.

Today Baby Cookies fell down the stairs. I had just put her shoes on and had run down to the first floor to attend to the barking dog, when I heard the distinct sound of tumbling behind me. I whirled around to see my girl falling head over feet and crashing into the wall where the stairs curve out into the hallway. In that moment, my mind flashed through every possible scenario — she broke her neck, she broke her leg, she bumped her head and has a concussion or her brain is bleeding. Without a thought, I grabbed her and held her. She was moving. She started crying. So did I.

She was fine. Thank God. Prayers and Signs of the Cross and all of it. I’m not a praying person, but I was in that moment. Because I had seen one too many soap operas where someone meets her demise at the bottom of a staircase. Because if Cookies had fallen in just the right wrong way, she could’ve broken her neck. Because I had recently seen Gravity and that stupid movie reminded me that sometimes horrible things happen in the simplest of moments. I had started out the day thinking how things sucked because the liftgate on my car kept opening and shutting at random. Things could’ve been so much worse.

I know stuff happens. I mean, intellectually, I get that. Kids get hurt. I got hurt. I broke my wrist and I cracked my skull on and end table and a light fixture crashed on my head and a dog bit me in the face (not all on the same day). My brother tore his ACL and (on a separate occasion) wound up in the hospital for two weeks after stepping on a rusty nail and contracting blood poisoning.

During my little brushes with the emergency room, I don’t remember feeling too bent out of shape about it. “Oh, you’re bringing in a plastic surgeon to stitch up my lip? That’s cool” or “I get a My Little Pony stable after we blow this pop stand? Rock and roll.” When it was me going through it, no big deal.

But my parents must have been freaking out (though they never showed it, at least not to us).

Now I keep flashing back to the moment Cookies fell down the stairs. I keep checking her eyeballs to make sure the pupils are dilating properly. I hold her hand tight on the stairs at gymnastics class. I’m being extra vigilant and extra attentive, and I know I’ll keep being that way until today is just a memory and things go back to normal.

And then I’m sure I’ll get another scare and this will start all over again.

Seriously, how do parents not go crazy?

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Tags: Kids

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