Thursday, September 6, 2012

Very Nearly

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We pulled up in front of the pre-school, running late.

“Let’s go, Bob. Crawl across and come out my side. Quick, quick.”  He inched his way across the back seat. He tripped and his knee struck the floor of the car, his tiny skull headed straight toward the pavement. I turned toward the car door and without time to think about what I was doing, I kneeled quickly and held out my hand, catching his head just before it would have hit the ground.

Tiny Bob and I were traveling with Jeff and his band. We got off the tube in London and were headed toward the night’s venue. I had Bob in a Bjorn carrier on my chest. The guys walked ahead of us in the crosswalk. Becky and I waited at the corner for the light to change. I looked to my left and saw that the street was clear of traffic and stepped off of the curb. Becky put her hand out on my arm and pulled me back just as a bus whipped by from my right. I had forgotten that the cars drove on the other side of the street in England.

These are memories that wake me up at night.

He is a regular boy. He has fallen and skinned his knees at the park, conked his head on the doorjamb, rolled off the couch when he was small. I have rushed him to the doctor from a bad fall and when he jammed something up his nose. But those near misses, the life and death ones: What happened there? Was it luck or fate or some divine intervention? Is there an invisible force, guiding those hands that moved so casually to stop a tragedy, crossing a boundary between life and death? Like a cat with nine lives, how many freebies do we get? Why do some kids get no free ride at all?

These are the anxious questions I ask at four in the morning.

I remember then, my son is not really “mine” he is God’s. It’s my blessing to be with him and my job to try not to mess the whole thing up too much. Then I can let go. I can go back to sleep.

48 comments:

  1. It's 4:28 am in NYC right now. I wonder how many of us are awake thinking the same thing. xo

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  2. It's 4:28 am in NYC right now. I wonder how many of us are awake thinking the same thing. xo

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  3. Shivers, Lisa, because my mind does this same thing.

    I'll think of near misses that almost make me nauseous with their memory: our then 3 yr old Alec, across the street without our permission, a teen driving a car coming, our son looking up to see us - scared he's in trouble - and so begins to run back home.

    I scream NO! louder than any voice I"d recognize as my own. This ferocity glues him to the spot, and he stops mid step.

    Memories like this, that send shivers running up my spine like a little mouse.

    Fantastic posts these days: they've always always been wonderful, but this week: I am so in love with your words here.

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  4. Standing at the elevator, holding my three year old's hand. The door opens, no elevator. My daughter lurches forward to to chasm, pulling me a step forward. "Where's the slippery stuff, Mom?" My heart still thumps. Looking out for children is just what we do.

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  5. This is beautiful... and? Sorry but it never gets better. My baby is 12 and I still wish he'd wear a helmet at all times.

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    1. Our own moms probably think the same thing. xo

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  6. Thank you for that coping strategy. I will be using it. :)

    Like everyone is saying, it's amazing to witness your incredible words unleashed again. xoxoxxo

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  7. I am there and with you. This morning I put my hands on my boys heads and said, "You do know how much I love you don't I?" And they both nodded yes. Then inside of my head I asked for angels to be encamped about them, just as I always do.

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  8. I was up at 3am thinking very similar thoughts.

    xoxo

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  9. Once my son and I were crossing the street, and he ran a bit ahead of me. There was a big pick up truck with its left blinker on and I remember thinking, "He's going to turn. He doesn't see my son, and he's going to turn." Something made me yell, scream really, for my son to turn back to me. The truck missed him by a foot. I hate having this memory, it reminds me how fragile everything is, and how everything can change so quickly. And how I'm totally in charge of this little person. Am I strong/smart/quick/capable enough to do this?

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  10. What's that saying that goes around every now and again? About being a mother means letting your heart walk around outside of your body? It's so very true.

    I get this so much. I'd love to say it gets easier as they get older, but it just doesn't.

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  11. You never stop "momming." I worried about that first day of school until Annie called me to tell me that it went well. And she is the teacher. molly

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  12. That same bus thing happened to my mom once and the hand that threw her back to the curb was invisible. He is in God's hands and all we can do is our best.

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  13. Wonderful writing, lovely awareness.

    Gm.

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  14. That's it. I'm never letting the kids out of the house again. Well. Maybe if they let me wrap them in cotton balls, a helmet, and some body armor.

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  15. It's the "Very Nearly"[s] and what ifs in life that scare the livin' poop outta me.
    It's those moments that put us in exactly the right place at the right time that remind me "Coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous" ~Albert Einstein.

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  16. I think I have September-anxiety over these kinds of thoughts every year... this must be why I haven't been sleeping well lately. Man, this excellent post just helped me figure that whole thing out, woman! Thank you!! So glad to know you, ma belle. xox

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    1. Yes! You're right! I think September is the trigger!
      xoxo

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  17. When Cady was about 18 months old I was getting groceries out of the car. I thought she was right beside me because she was ALWAYS right beside me. I looked up and she was just at the edge of our driveway and headed into the street. Before I could get to her she had ran across our street and into the neighbor's yard. I thank God every day that we live on a non-busy street and that no one was driving by when it happened.

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    1. Thank God. Those moments stop my heart just thinking about them.

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  18. aww. thats so true and thank goodness too. i couldnt imagine not having my life in God's hands

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  20. A few weeks ago, my son nearly drowned. I don't swim. The woman I was talking to at the time, the mother of the only other kid in the pool, and who knew I couldn't swim, touched my arm and said, "I'll go." She jumped in an fished him out. I was so grateful to her and so full of shame that I couldn't do what she did. I haven't written about it yet (other than this comment). It still makes me cry.

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    1. Steph - How frightening for you. I am so glad it all worked out. We never know who our angels are going to be. xo

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  21. Once again, great post. Just a few months ago my son was goofing around at the museum he came right across my lap and his head was heading towards the cement floor, I caught him by the feet just in time. I still think about it.

    You are right they are just ours for a time, easy to forget though :)

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  22. Well, now I'm crying. Wow. Talk about perspective. Thanks for this. And happy SITS day!

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    1. Thank you, Lydia. Thoughts like this make me grateful for the uneventful days...

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  23. I used to throw that truth back at my mom when I was in high school and I told her I was driving over Highway 17...at night...with a car full of high school friends...in my old 64 Mustang. "Mom, I belong to God! If I'm gonna go, I'm gonna go! I could go by getting struck by lightening walking out of the house, or driving Highway 17!" True, very true...
    However, now that I am a mother I realized how insanely foolish it is to give God a little stupidity to work with, to tempt fate. You know? I am now like you, lying in bed, handing my kids over to God daily because I can't imagine life without them.

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    1. Highway 17 is frightening whether Jesus takes the wheel or not. xo L

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  24. Oh thank you so much for reminding me of that! I come from a family of all girls (cousins that is) and I had no idea how much physical activity boys get into. My son is now thirteen and his soccer games are scary to watch as he is always getting hurt. Beautiful post! :)

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  25. Nicely explained. It’s indeed an art to stop new visitors with your attractive writing style.

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  26. he explained many things in this article i like this so much Mobile

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