“Remember that time you came in my room, and the blanket I had over the light bulb was smoking?”
“Well, I did it with plastic tonight. It didn’t smoke. But it made this circle that was melted on the plastic.”
“Yes, it made a circle on the plastic that melted, but it didn’t start smoking. You have to see it!”
Oh, fucking awesome. That’s great, son! You didn’t burn the house down? Super! You should get an extra star on your behavior chart this week. And why the freaking hell do you remember the night I saved you from burning to death by checking on you at midnight and removing the smoking baby blanket from your lamp THREE years ago…. BUT you don’t remember if the teacher at school asked you to finish this worksheet or whether you have the right book or whether….. damn it all!!!
But here’s what I said, “You’ll have to show me. That’s a cool experiment. You should always tell me when there is fire or smoke involved. Someone could die.”
“I know. I wouldn’t do that.” (silly me)
And with a sign and some significant heart palpitations, I was able to walk away from the scene with a minimal amount of anxiety. (I’m truly growing as a person and medicinal partakerer.)
I remember that night three years ago. He must have been 4 or 5. I decided to check on him before I went to bed, and his lamp was smoking. He literally could have died, along with the rest of us, IF I hadn’t checked in.
Those are things you (as a parent) do not want to be reminded of because it just makes the thin line between alive and dead throw itself into your vision, so all you can see is the difference between those little things you didn’t do and things you did. It compels you to ponder history and what you should or shouldn’t have said, done or acted upon, what powers you did or did not have.
Who needs that?
I mean, yes, I consider myself a hero, but that’s only one of many times I have seen potential death walk by us disappointedly. I hear about cancer every single day. I hear about diabetes and heart disease. I work in the industry of health and problems. But hell, I also know about the disease of “I’m a stupid, lucky kid, with a mom who…” Leave that last part open. You know who you are. You’ve saved a life here and there by checking on something stupid. You’ve given life, taken it, and you will continue to do so.
But no one tells you how damn important you are every day. You just know because you remember the times you’ve defied death. You remember when you remember, but also when your kids remember. Hi death. Fuck off.
And then you put on your shield and sword, of course, matching your fabulous shoes.
This shit is crazy, and if I said it any other way, it wouldn’t have the same impact. No one can prepare for the weight of your contribution in motherhood. And no one can prepare you for how little fanfare you need. Every day each family member wakes up alive and fairly healthy is a win. It’s a win, baby.