For those of you who don’t know my back story, I was raised for the latter half of my childhood by my aunt, whom I will now refer to as Dodie, and my Grandma, who will be called Grandma. Creative juices are flowing this morning.
My Grandma is amazing. She’s 80+ years old, and still drives, cooks, cleans, and goes to the casino. She’s boss. She spent her retirement years getting up at 5 AM so she could pack my lunch and drive me to school. I am so, so grateful for her. She is also “that” Grandma to my girls (though yes, technically she’s Great-grandma): the one who has a whole room of toys, cookies and snacks always on hand, makes French toast for every sleepover, and is willing to play infinitely more rounds of pretend farm than Mommy ever would
without a glass of wine. My girls adore her, and I love that they adore her.
There’s just one thing about Grandma: she’s a little…concerned…about safety. Everything is a choking hazard. She would mash up my girls’ scrambled eggs with a fork until they were slightly larger than a grain of sand. Punkin would get so aggravated as a toddler that she wouldn’t eat them because she couldn’t get the crumbs in her mouth.
She’s also very into the news. She knows all the latest stories and tragedies and world-wide drama. I, conversely, hate the news and never watch it. Partly because we don’t have TV. Partly because I think it’s slanted to influence the viewers in one direction or another, I think it’s deplorable that the latest pregnant celebrity gets more press coverage than a kidnapped child, and I’m fairly certain that if I watched it regularly, I would never let my kids out of the house again.
But despite my best efforts to escape inexplicable tragedies that could make me never let my kids out of my sight, I am still informed – quite regularly – of every accident and tragedy affecting a child. This week alone I was warned about a dresser falling on a kid and TV’s falling on two more.
Side note: I cannot even begin to imagine that kind of tragedy. If I do, my heart races, and the thought of losing one of my babies is a little unbearable. I have a hard time being objective regarding people who have experienced tremendous loss – maybe because of losing my mother as a child. In any event, I am not making light of these situations in any capacity. My deepest sympathy goes out to anyone who has ever experienced that kind of loss.
But this is precisely why I don’t watch the news. Do you have any idea how hard it was for me to let Punkin take the bus to school? She begged me for 6 months before I would even consider it. And her first day on the bus? Dodie called me to tell me about a kid who died in a bus crash. I had to remind myself that there are far more car crashes than bus crashes, and the odds of Punkin being hurt in a bus crash are significantly less than her being hurt while riding in a car with me. But these are the stories I do. not. need to hear. I have to fight the desire to not let her ride her bike in the driveway alone. Why? Because while I know that supervising her every move may prevent some accidents, it will also teach her to live her life in fear, to never take chances, never try new things. And I so don’t want to do that.
Don’t get me wrong. I still baby proof the house, have regular talks about strangers and smoking, put baby gates up in front of the stairs, keep all sharp objects and my coffee out of reach, yada yada yada. But I know that constantly filling my head with stories of what could happen, would almost certainly make me keep my kids trapped so that those things wouldn’t happen.
Because despite my overwhelming desire to, at times, find a toddler boarding school, my girls are my whole world. And I worry about them. Constantly.
I know Grandma means well. I know she just wants to keep her loves safe. And really, there’s almost always wisdom in what she’s saying.
I still think mashed eggs is a bit much, though.