fragility of normal


 On the way to a non emergency, but still same day doctor's visit, we are late. I'm driving down the highway wondering how it is that seven plus years into motherhood I still don't allow enough time for delays and a child falling in mud while walking from the front door to the car, and then having to run inside and change pants and shirts and coats. Because mud splashes everywhere and seeps into the cracks between coat and shirt, shirt and skin.

She says she's fine without me in the x ray room. She's five. She looks brave and talks to the radiology tech and when I come back in the tech tells me that my girl has asked to see her x rays. So she's taking her to look at a computer screen. My girl watches as the leg bones are pointed out {fully intact, thank GOD} and she marvels at how small her knee cap is. "In ten years it'll be a full knee cap, just like a grown ups."

Ten years. I can't even imagine. She'll be 15.

Seven plus years in and the worries get bigger and the threats against normal health seem to increase. Maybe because we're all so aware. Maybe because every other day there's a story the pops up on Facebook or the Huffington post about children battling cancer or other scary diseases. And so my mind goes places that are dark. I can't help it. All of a sudden my five year olds shin pain seems like it could be anything from a badly bruised bone to a stress fracture to cancer.

How do we go through days and nights with these little ones without the fear overwhelming us and consuming our hearts and minds? The fragility of my little ones lives is not lost on me. I recently read "The more you know, the crazier you look." It's true. The more we are aware of, the good and bad, the crazier we look - or even feel.

And so I step back. From Facebook and news stories. I filter what I watch and read and hear. If a story comes up about a shooting or car jacking or child abuse I choose not to read the details. I am aware, but I am trying not to let it scare the crap out of me, and in turn live in fear. It is so easy to live in fear.

It takes strength to parent with all of this knowledge around us. With WebMD and Dr. Google. To parent while conscious of both the good and the bad. For those of us who deal with anxiety it is especially hard to be aware but not fear every ache or pain and turn it into the worst case scenario. It take strength to know that whatever happens, moments will continue to pass and life will continue to move forward. Parenting is not for the weak of heart. The moment I saw the first positive pregnancy test nearly eight years ago I knew that. But I couldn't possibly know the extent of what that means. I'm sure I still don't.

The call comes and I take a deep breath. The words normal x ray and cold compress and motrin are a relief. Aware of what it could have been, thankful for what it isn't. Trusting this moment, feeling the fragility of normal.


  1. The fragility of normal...

    Everything I type seems wrong. This was perfect. Relieved the xrays were normal, relived I'm not the on;y one traveling without the cushion of time for a fall, accident etc.

    I just...sigh. Love to everyone, you know, for whatever normal they have today and knowing that it could change faster than a child slipping in snow.

  2. I'm glad she is ok. I worry too. You're not alone. I need to filter more, as you mentioned. XOXO

  3. It's so hard. Because you're right. One minute it's "I'm sure everything is fine" and the next minute your imagination has jumped straight to the wasted chemo child with your child's face. And it's all so fragile. All this stuff we take for granted, and the hyperactive obnoxious laughing kids.

    I'm with you. I can't let myself think on it. We have this moment, right now, and it's good, with them upstairs asleep after a night of crazy giggles and footie pajamas. I guess that's all we can really ask for.

  4. Before I was on fb I used to take comfort in this little book by Bernie Seigel. He suggested that imagining the worst case scenario actually helps put everything in perspective. That was one bit of advice that never really helped me. I have a big imagination and can traumatize myself just by thinking about what could happen. I'm sure that there's a wave of relief that comes when nothing big is really going to happen, but the whole roller coaster is upsetting to me. When Elliot was two, he fell down our stairs and landed on a plastic toy which punctured the skin on his forehead. Blood spurted out like a fountain, and we rushed to urgent care, who sent us to the ER. While we were driving, I just couldn't breathe. The doctors at the ER sealed the wound with adhesive and he was fine. But that day, I was a blubbering wreck. I'm so glad Paige is okay:)

    P.S. Having a dad who experienced cancer twice I learned that a new kind of normal settles in after everyone adjusts to the circumstances.

  5. I love this post! I have anxiety issues and the what ifs surrounding my children often overwhelm me. You are right, parenting is not for the weak! Glad her xrays turned out fine. :)

  6. If I could count how many times I've succumbed to dark thoughts as I lay in bed at night, or in the seconds it takes me to get to one of my 2 year olds after hearing the thunk of a fall, or whenever the bus is a few minutes late dropping off my daughter, or with every ache and pain or horror story told on the news or passed around email or facebook. It's a wonder any of us survive day to day, if you think about it. So, yeah, I'm quick to go there, but I'm working on it. As you point out, so much of it has to do with filtering.


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