|Signs of solidarity everywhere; like this jacket at a baseball game.|
But here's the thing... While those thoughts were real and continuous throughout the day, they were small. Much smaller than the amount of time I dedicated to them in this blog post. They were nowhere near as strong as the other, constant mommy worries that I have been having all day, everyday, for the past 8 years since I became a mother. Running through the same Saturday, a small sample of those worry-filled thoughts went something like this:
Next up, a stop at the Mother Load Children's Consignment Sale. I thought; "Very public. Everyone defenseless. Good opportunity for maximum collateral damage. Women and children."
From there we went to Ahava's gymnastics class. "Full of innocents. What if some crazy man came in here with a bomb or a gun? Unless one of the parents or other spectators is packing a concealed weapon of their own, there would be no one to stop them."
Then on to Ziva's tennis lesson. It felt a little less threatening, with double doors at the entrance and a guy requesting membership cards at the front. "But how easy would it be to overtake someone in the parking lot, grab their membership card and come in, guns blazing?"
Next up, the playground. While there were only a few kids on the playground on that day, I still found myself thinking: "If it were busier here some sicko might choose this park as a target."
Trips to K-Mart and Whole Foods had me scanning the parking lot for people acting strangely. "Was that guy really a security guard or just a guy posing as one to plant a bomb?" The parking lots were full; perfect place to create a big explosion for maximum news coverage and general panic.
And finally, the Isotopes' baseball game for a friend's son's birthday party. Talk about public. Perfect for murder and mayhem...
Dropping off Anabel; "What if these new 'friends' aren't good people and have ill intentions with our foreign friend?" I'd never forgive myself if something bad happened to her.
At the consignment sale I worried that Samuel would pull one of the clothing racks down on his head or escape out the door and into the street in the 2.5 seconds I turned my head to help Ziva try on a pair of shoes.
At gymnastics I always worry that Ahava will land wrong and break an arm or a leg, or worse.
In tennis; "What if Ziva gets whacked in the head with a ball or a racquet? What if the obscene song that the little girl next to her (Not the little girl in this picture!) was singing or the spitting she was doing or the constant barrage of put-downs she was hurling at the other kids leads to similar bad behavior in my sweet, innocent little girl?"
And, of course, both the playground and bike ride were fraught with worry. "What if Ahava or Ziva lose their grip on that swing-thing and break an arm, or a leg, or worse? What if the graffiti on the slide is legible smut that my daughters can read (now that Ziva can be added to the list of real readers since the reading lightbulb went off for her in just the last month!)? What if that puddle at the bottom of the slide is not rain water but some kid's (or adult's!) urine! What if these new bike riders lose control and barrel into traffic? What if I lose control and barrel into traffic? What if this new baby bike seat I so proudly installed myself with a Swiss-Army knife falls off with Samuel in it, sending him barreling into traffic?"
Oh and don't get me started on the ballpark! Just the sign informing us that we were sitting in the foul-ball zone conjured up all those YouTube videos about kids getting hit in the head and seriously injured... or worse.
|Nathan holds hands with the kids at the Isotopes' game...|
|Which doesn't bother Jayden and Ziva one bit!|
|Still in carseats. They don't seem to mind!|
|Ahava and her first love: cotton candy|
You get the idea. I worry all the time.
But, thankfully, not in the paralyzing way that prevents people from living. Yes, I worry about my kids' teeth rotting from all the candy they eat. I worry about them getting lost in a crowd. No, I don't allow my 8-year-old to go into the bathroom alone. And, yes, I still keep her in a 5-point harness carseat even though all her friends don't even use booster seats anymore. The reality is, if someone could document the moments of madness that pass through a Mommy's mind when it comes to worrying about their kids moving through the world, it would probably be a volume about the size of "War and Peace."
|Jayden, Ziva, Ahava and Samuel enjoying the firetruck|
What I'm talking about here are the little acts of courage that have preserved our humanity through the worst of times AND the best of times. The courage to stay the course. To teach. To learn. To love. And to let go. The courage to help these little people believe in the good and the wonder and the joy, even as you yourself fear the dark, the cruelty, the pain. That, to me, is the courage that comes from being a parent.
I'll end with a few quotes about courage that I like, and a few of my favorite photos from the ballpark:
Courage is being scared to death... and saddling up anyway. -John Wayne
We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear. -Martin Luther King, Jr.
**This one I had posted in my cabin while living on Hakuna Matata!**Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore. - Andre Gide