Mothering or Even Optimists have Down Days
Like most personality traits, optimism has its up and down side in mothering. The upside is I worry somewhat less than other mothers and don’t tend to project anxious waves (though my sons will tell you otherwise). The down side is occasionally I don’t worry when I should.
When my oldest was a wee buglet, not yet turning over, we lived in a house with a loft and stairs so steep they were better described as a ladder. The bed was positioned right in the middle of the floor under the skylight and right beside the stairwell. The warm sun splashed across the bed and captivated the little buglet. He lay in it cooing and waving his arms. I stood beside him, next to the stairwell and folded laundry. When I was all done, I circled the bed and began putting clothes away in the dresser. It occurred to me that I shouldn’t leave the little guy so close to the edge but. . .he wasn’t even 4 months old yet. He’d never turned over before. I was only going to be away from his side a second.
As I worked, behind me I heard a thump and a startled wail. My stomach flipped. I whirled. The spot on the bed where I had left him was wiped clean. The house was utterly still. It was as if a giant hand had plunged through the roof, scooped him off the bed and took him into the sky.
I stood with my mouth hanging. Then, I flew around the bed and stared at the floor. He wasn’t there. I looked again. I looked at the ceiling. Then a curl of dismay blew into a raging inferno as I stared at the stairs. There was nothing on them and no sound. He had to have fallen down the stairs and he must be dead because there was no sound. None. Just awful stomach churning silence.
I raced down the stairs calling his name, pleading for a sound. I searched the area around the base with no success. At last I leaned my head on the lid of the laundry basket at the foot of the stairs gasping. I still strained my ears hoping for something and into the silence a small rustle strummed my tightly stretched hearing. I threw open the lid of the basket. There on a pile of dirty laundry lay my little Moses staring wide eyed up at me.
I remember that for a moment he almost smiled but I began sobbing in relief and his half smile turned to wails. I carefully pulled him into my arms and carried him to our favorite chair. I held him–crying long after he stopped.
No matter how optimistic, every mother knows that if your child does something once they are likely to repeat it. I never left him on the bed alone again.
Unsurprisingly, he didn’t turn over even once for another month.
Unsurprisingly, he is not an optimist.
Tip of the hat to Defiant Muse who reminded me of one of the stories I’d like to forget.
Photo from a charitable organization with a bright outlook;>