My son admitted to a bit of “Ding-dong Ditch” the other day. I tried not to admonish too strongly–after all, it used to be one of my favorite illicit activities, and one that was relatively harmless. But I did tell him that it was not thoughtful, complete with reminders about how some people–older or infirm ones–have to work very hard just to respond to a rung bell. I saw the lightbulb moment in his eyes.
And then, the scared-Mommy thoughts surfaced: “What if some creep comes to the door, hunts them down, and grabs…” – or- “What if they don’t make it away from the door in time, and the grumpy, gun-toting dowager down the street decides to teach them a lesson, barely missing a foot, or an arm as she shoots, cackles (not all dowagers are dignified), and bangs the door?”
What makes our children stop and think about how they spend their time? Do each and every one of our lessons land somewhere inside of them, to be culled as needed–in time to keep them safe? I like this fantasy.
I also know reality–know that all too often our beloved children step out and into trouble before we can blink back our fearful tears.
“STOP!” I want to yell – “Ingest every single shred of wisdom I have heaped on you.”
“STOP!” I want to yell – “Don’t make the same mistakes I made.”
“STOP!” I tell myself. Then I take a deep breath (or five hundred) remember that I AM doing my level-and-not-so-level-headed best to help my children avoid the deepest potholes, and that there are plenty of other signs along the way–signs I hope they will heed.
Funny thing is…had I known all this before becoming a parent–how certain moments make you wish you hadn’t, because sometimes the worry and the pain seem unbearable-nothing could have stopped me from doing it anyway.