There I was standing at the deli counter waiting for my pound of yellow American cheese thinking, I’m a warrior.
Minutes earlier I’d received an email from your father with the subject line, “read this please.” Loving instructions and being told what to do so I can say, “check!”, I read dutifully.
The pressing email was a forward from a co-worker from a forward from a friend from a forward from a person who’d shared a link to a blog. (One of those.) Still, I scrolled down and read a story about a very scary experience with something called Secondary Drowning. Kudos and thanks to the mother for sharing and writing for the sake of education. (Read story here.) http://www.delightedmomma.com/2014/05/secondary-drowning-my-recent-experience.html?m=1
I’d read the story, and first and foremost I was educated (I’d never even heard of it!), and then, I was angry, quite immaturely. I was angry at your father–how could he send this to me knowing how much anxiety I already have! (Meanwhile, he does not know how much anxiety I already have because that’s how anxiety works, your heart races silently, your fists clench, you smile, no one knows). But really, I was angry that there is another thing out there in this world that can harm you. This time–water–and water is everywhere. I unclenched my fists. Took a sip of a club soda. Cracked a window in the house. Air.
I got into the car and headed to North Shore Farms to buy cheese and tuna salad. Because you like cheese, Baby Girl, and you, Baby Boy, like tuna. (Because of everything on a mom’s to-do list, these are the things get squeezed in and become important, her cheese, his tuna, because these are the things that moms do.)
When you first bring home newborns you’re so scared about everything. You stand over and watch them, as if they might break. You put your fingers under their nose while sleeping to make sure they are breathing. Everything’s organic. Dropped toys get cleaned. Oh sure.
Then, life really takes off, and there’s so much less you can control…and there’s so much more to be scared of…water…swimming!…that’s it, no going near pools ever! We’re wearing life preservers! Everyday! I don’t care what we look like! That’s it!
You know you can’t prepare for everything. You know you can’t worry about everything. (You know at any given moment there is everything that can go wrong.) So, you focus on knowing one thing, what is before you: two healthy kids, everybody safe, healthy. And you know that as long as this is true everything is okay.
In the parking lot of the store a man hit my car backing out. (To your dad: Oh, calm down, Denby, it was just a tap. You know that parking lot is a nightmare. Love you!)
I kept saying to him, it’s okay, it’s okay! Look, everything is fine. Because I knew that even if it wasn’t, even if the car had been banged up (which is isn’t, Denby!), it still would’ve been fine. Because nothing matters except you two being okay. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.
When handed my cheese I noticed that the package felt light. I checked the weight, half a pound when I’d ordered a full. I could’ve said something to the man about his honest mistake, gotten all annoyed for after waiting so long my order being screwed up. But I was completely unbothered. (Is that a word?)
Like a warrior, I walked on, immune to small things like cars and cheese…such nuisances…