I used to babysit for a family when I was in high school. Their two year old boy was ridiculously cute and mischievous. After doing something naughty, he would stand in the middle of the room with his eyes closed, grinning and giggling to himself, thinking he was invisible and unable to be caught. It usually worked out well for him because he was so gosh-darn-adorable I could never stop smiling long enough to reprimand him.
In some ways, life was a little like that before Jameson got sick. As parents, we were standing in the middle of the world with our eyes closed, thinking we were invincible. We are not worriers by nature and the what-ifs and tragedy of the world weren’t something we spent an overwhelming amount of time thinking about. Ignorance was bliss, you might say. Not that we turned blindly away from tragedy or felt immune to it, but, honestly, how many people really think something bad will happen to their kids? Sure, it happens. To regular people. Every day. But deep down, you don’t really think it will happen to you. You hear of a horrific accident or catastrophic illness taking someone else’s baby and you hold yours a little tighter that night. You think about how lucky and grateful you are that it isn’t you and then you go on with your life. We all do it. Because while we logically know something could happen, we really don’t think it will.
But I can’t feel that way anymore. We have been robbed of more than just our child. Our invincibility has been stolen from us. And it can be so maddening, this knowledge I would rather not have. My eyes are no longer closed and I look out and see. I see what is really out there. And when Little Man is up the driveway, out of my sight and doesn’t answer me when I call him I can almost see the abduction that really isn’t taking place. When Little Lady gets a nasty cough, I can’t help but think about every fatal illness that begins with a cough. Because we are not invincible like most people are. Bad things have happened to us. Our kids really can die.
I’m not a worrier and having these thoughts pisses me off. I suppose in some ways –if I want to be a freaking Pollyanna over here- I can come up with a few positives about this. Like how now I’m super vigilant so maybe it will save my kids from something bad…isn’t that an awesome thought? Sigh. Or how I’m no longer afraid of people living through tragedy. That scary death stigma that hangs over survivors isn’t scary to me; how can you be afraid of yourself? Or how we have this reminder of just how fleeting everything is and the perspective it gives. It frees us up to Carpe Diem so much more. *Yay*
I wish I could just be standing in the middle of the room with my eyes closed, grinning and giggling and thinking about how lucky we are. And we are lucky. We have two seemingly healthy kids, a strong marriage, and a bright future ahead. But do you see it even there? How many of you would say your kids are seemingly healthy? Ahh, ignorance was bliss.