12 June 2013

Perception & Reality

This was my facebook status update this morning:

Noble *somehow* ended up in a pond the other night while the kids were "watching" him. It could have been a LOT worse, and I hope I scared them all straight with the what-could-have-happeneds. Turns out, he's still THAT KID, who reminds me all too often what can happen in the blink of an eye, and that it could happen to us. But...as is also par for the course in our family, we found a reason to laugh when it was all said and done. Noble's socks were white before the incident, but if you look closely you can see that he's invented a new color: grack. Too black to be gray, too gray to be black.

After I posted it, I realized exactly how horrible it sounded.  Well, it is pretty horrible.  So I tried to explain a little more, because I don't blame the big kids for what happened--and I really don't blame Kayci.  I blame me.

PS-Kayci's not on Facebook or I would have tagged her, too. . It was truly a not-so-funny comedy of errors...obviously I wouldn't have turned a 5 year old loose in a 9 year old's care if I knew there was a pond on the property. Yes, I know I'm Mother of the Year.

Still don't feel any better.  But you know, I feel like it's important to share stuff like this--and not just the stuff that somehow reflects positively on me--because I really believe people need to know that horrible stuff can happen, it can happen in the blink of an eye,  and yes, it can happen to "people like us."

Noble's the kid who's reminded me of that over and over and over...and to think, before he came along I used to pat myself on the back and tell myself I was pretty good at this parenting thing.

No, really--I did.

See, my perception of myself as a parent is that I try pretty hard to get it right.

To have fun with my kids...
...case in point, trip to Blue Bell with bffs and cousins a few hours before said child walked into said pond.

And I also try to teach my kids...

...case in point, photo scavenger hunt kids were working on when Noble ended up in the pond.

See, my perception of the other evening was that I was helping James with a photo shoot and there were 4 kids capable of taking care of themselves walking around in a secure area doing a fun team-building, learning, fun activity.  Again, patting myself on the back.

The reality?  I had not walked all 8 acres of the property to make sure it was completely safe.  I assumed.  I also did not explicitly tell Noble (or any of the kids) not to get into the water (didn't know there was water aside from the fountain, and we've covered that one on previous visits).  I did not explicitly tell the big kids to keep Noble in their line of sight the ENTIRE time...like them, I forget that he's still little because he seems. So. Big.

Then stuff like this happens.  And I have to face the what ifs...what if the screaming that I heard wasn't him screaming, but one of the big kids screaming?  What if his biggest problem wasn't fear that he'd get into trouble, but something unthinkable?  What if we couldn't laugh at his grack socks for crying over our lost boy?

The reality is, we're damn lucky THAT KID walked into that pond...and back out.  Because the big kids had no clue he was even thinking of getting in the water, they didn't hear any splashes or anything until he started screaming (because he thought he was going to get in trouble).  This story could have a very, very different ending, and I'd be one of those stupid parents everyone judges...I didn't know there was a pond...I wasn't actually supervising my child...I didn't think...

We're all THAT PARENT, potentially, and we all need to give each other grace in this journey.  Go ahead and judge me and find me wanting, as I have done the same.  But when you see another parent struggling?  Remember that it could be any of us.

Even the "good parents."  I wonder if there really is any such animal...or if I've just been lucky so far.

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