Finding a toy on the sidewalk isn’t at all surprising. As I have said before, our neighborhood is full of kids. It’s not usual to encounter a scooter or two on any given walk. Nerf gun bullets are almost as plentiful as leaves. You could stock a Dick’s with all of the errant sporting good equipment that is just laying around.
The frisbee was weird though. It was red and printed on it in white letters was the name and website for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. That’s got to be the most depressing toy ever. I’m trying to think of a clever comparison to make, something along the lines of “that’s as depressing as a ____________ that _________” and I can’t think of anything, because nothing is more of a downer than a flying disk that, every time you catch it, reminds you that the world is mostly horrible and people are terrible. It’s like a…nope, still can’t come up with anything. The fact that this was a discarded frisbee, just laying in the mulch, and it was also touting the website where I could go and learn all about the worst, most stomach churning things in the world….ugh. Just, ugh.
This sort of thing is hitting more now. Up until recently I was pretty much just responsible for me. I compensated a bit by taking on everyone else’s problems and trying (unsuccessful for the most part) to solve them but at the end of the day, I was in charge of me, of my dog and that was it.
Now I have two children and everything scares the fuck out of me.
Obviously I am not revealing hidden truths here. I suspect that every parent out there walks around all the time in a minor-grade state of terror. There are these little walking, talking, thinking, feeling creatures and you are responsible for them for a very long time because, for whatever reason, humans develop twenty or so times slower than every other animal on the planet.
I’m afraid every time they get on the bus. I’m worried every time they go outside. Do you know the average number of things that a seven year old can fall off of? Me neither, but it’s a fuck-ton. Sometimes I get worried when they go to bed, which makes no damned sense.
It’s not just the fact that the world is horrible and dangerous and pretty much red in tooth and claw and I want to protect them from it. There is me to contend with. I’m worried that my own failures will affect them. For that matter, I worry that stuff I do right will somehow adversely affect them. What if I tease T1 about his hair (sometimes he looks like a street urchin) and it gives him a complex? When T2 dances (he is amazing) it breaks me up. What if I praise him too much and it kills his creativity? I mean…fuck. This is complicated.
Again, not blazing new ground here. Just new to me.
I spend all day afraid.
I mean, I would prefer not to be afraid all the time. But I’m afraid for a good reason. I get to be a part of my little family. I’m afraid because I want to do right by them. By all of them. I’m afraid because I want to protect them from everything (impossible, but that’s the goal). I’m afraid but I’m okay with it because being afraid is the price of also being happy. I get to be scared but I get to see T1’s eyes light up when he actually has paid attention in class and nails all of his English homework. I get to be worried but I also get to watch T2, for reasons no one can pinpoint, play on the computer while singing, over and over again, the opening bars of the White Stripe’s Seven Nation Army. I get to wonder if stress can make what is left of my hair fall out but I also get to be C’s partner, something I am thankful for every day.