Stop that! You’ll break your neck.
Don’t jump that way, you’ll kill yourself!
If you fall and break your neck, I’ll never speak to you again! (we Hanna kids grew up with that one)
Be careful, you don’t want to hurt anyone, including you!
How many times a day do I call out these half-hearted warnings and more to the Mikey boy? A dozen? Two dozen times? It feels like every other minute he’s climbing something, jumping off of something, trying a new swing technique, or busy in a tree perfecting his fort. I don’t know why I even bother telling him to be careful.
The husband can attest (with a shake of the head) to how fearless I am with these children. It’s not that I don’t worry and that I don’t want them to be safe. I just know that ultimately it is out of my hands. I worry and I do my best to protect them from the many bumps and broken bones in life, but I am not in control. I trust that God is holding my sweet children in his hand. I trust that their guardian angels are surrounding them. I trust that even when something bad does happen, the Lord in his mercy is in control. I don’t have to be in control. If you asked me to my face why I don’t worry, I think I’d shrug and look flustered and say something self-deprecating, but thinking deeply about it, I just know it’s not up to me. His eye on the sparrow, lilies of the field, etc.
So when the Mikey came running up telling me he itched! His arm burns! Look at it! I didn’t panic.
Are you kidding me? I TOTALLY panicked.
It began innocently enough. We met dear friends at a park for some day-before school fun. We ate lunch, Shannon and I exchanging exasperated stories of the shenanigans of our respective progeny. Then the boy came running up, saying something about being stung and it hurt! He was stung on the wrist and the head. A wasp, we think. We removed the stinger, I rubbed my icy cold Coke on it (seriously? with these medical skills I should be a doctor), and after he stopped crying I sent him on his way to play.
A bit later as we began a hike through the Dunes the Mikey came running back, a terrible angry rash swelling his arm. In the time it took me to look at his arm, meet Shannon’s eyes and comment that we should get some Benadryl, his face had broken out and he was frantically clawing at his head.
I thank God for a reaction that was not severe enough to affect his breathing. I thank God for a good and steady friend who knew how to get me to the closest Urgent Care. I thank God for that same friend who calmly took care of all our other kids while I rushed the boy in to the doctor. I thank God the husband was at work close by so he could be with us in a very short time. Thank God.
We’ve now joined the ranks of Epi-pen carriers. We’ve joined the “allergic to stinging insects” gang along with my sister and some of her kids. We wear leather vests with fringe and big ugly wasps on the back… The Mikey has found a great way to wiggle out of compost duties. “But Mom, there are wasps out there….” Sometimes he gets out of it. Sometimes I roll my eyes and sigh. Every day I continue to call out half hearted warnings.
Always I thank God.