Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Motherlode of guilt

"Oona fell on her face from a chair, as I was turning out my innards in the loo. She had a puffy eye that turned rainbow colors as the swelling went down over the next few days. Meanwhile, she managed to cut her finger on a disposable razor blade that she managed to dig out of my sister's vanity bag. By the time we saw what she was playing with and grabbed it from her, we were too late and she'd already nicked herself. She didn't mind the bleeding or the betadine, she didn't cry at all! But she raised hell with the band-aid. Like when she fell, she cried from the surprise of having fallen and well, she did put up a brave face but my heart broke when I heard her cry."

I remember this from last year, March 18, 2009. I don't remember the details anymore but I do remember the gnawing guilt. Should I have done something before she fell? Should I have foreseen it? What could I do? What should I have done?

No matter how much we try to protect them, our kids will always manage to do something that would hurt themselves. Overly child-proofing the whole house could work, but really! That might be bordering on the neurotic and the kids would probably need therapy in the future.

I think the best we can do is teach them to be careful. To think things through. To be aware. And how to get back up when they do get hurt. It applies to how to deal with the trips and falls in life too, right?

In the meantime, while they're learning, us parents have to learn to let go and let them learn. We also have to learn how to forgive ourselves when accidents happen (because they really do). However, for sure, one thing we can never learn is how to teach our hearts not to break when we hear our kid cry in pain, no matter the cause. We'd forever wish that we be the one hurting instead.

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