A Tough Week for Bananas and Time for Me to Give Myself Grace
It's been a tough week for Mr. Bananas. I don't know what's going on. Maybe it's being 2 1/2. Maybe it's a growth spurt. I don't know if it's his adventurous spirit.We ("We" ahem being my husband) decided that maybe Mr. B should forgo the nap because bedtimes were hard. Now that Bananas hasn't napped in about a week he's a little bit stumbly-bumbly during the day. It's probably a little of everything.
Let me start with, "Yes, Mom he is fine. And yes, I am watching him. Yes, these things happen. He is fine. Really. He is."
It started on Monday when Bananas ventured a little too far at the local pool. I know that some of my friends think I'm a little too nonchalant about watching my kids at the pool. I refuse to be scared of the water, though I do have a healthy respect for it. I do watch my kids and I actually scan the water frequently trying to keep an eye on all three kids. Yes, the oldest can swim. And yes, there are very competent lifeguards, but it doesn't hurt to constantly scan the water, especially when all 3 are in different directions. And guess what pool friends...I actually scan the water looking out for your little ones, too. I know that some of you aren't as comfortable in the water as my family so I try to scan the water making sure your munchkins are fine, too.
On Monday, I had gotten out of the pool to get something and stayed on the pool deck next to the steps where Bananas was happily playing. Someone came to talk to me about swim team, and I was also talking to one of the other lifeguards. But as I always do, my eyes flicked to the water every now and again to keep tabs on the kids. And then it happened (Mom, stop reading here if it's going to freak you out. Bananas is fine!).
I notice Bananas had ventured farther than usual. I also noticed him bobbing up and down and then it hit me that he wasn't coming all the way up. The whole situation was probably less than a minute long, but it felt like an eternity. As I watched him, I heard in my head one of the Flipper coach's description on active drowning and I realized that was what was happening. In horror I looked up at the lifeguard in the chair right next to Bananas willing him to look down and at the same it was as if my vocal chords were paralyzed and I couldn't even speak to alert him and when the lifeguard didn't look down I must have said something aloud to the lifeguard next to me because the lifeguard (our superhero) took off at a sprint around the side of the pool (the path of least resistance) and I, being illogical, went through the water to get to Mr Bananas. She got to Bananas and pulled him out and I came by a second or two later. He was fine. A little scared, but fine. He swallowed a little water and he burped, but he was fine. He was fine. Thank God!!!! I was more in shock about the whole situation and felt guilty and I have been beating myself up about it for days. Bananas? After a popsicle he wanted to get in again. Every part of my being wanted to scream "No" and protect him, but the good mom in me knew that I needed him to get back on the proverbial horse and try it again. He stayed closer to Mama and he isn't afraid of the water, but I think he's found his limit. Me, too. I am super grateful to our local super hero. Did you know that super heroes don't always wear capes? Sometimes they wear bathing suits and their angel wings are hidden from the human eye. But they are there. I believe we have angels among us and I am grateful. I am grateful for the quick thinking and lightening reflexes of our pool manager. I am super grateful she did not berate me and make me feel worse. Because she could have and it would have been warranted at the time. And I would have lost all of my composure and blubbered nonstop. In addition to saving my son, she gave me the gifts of grace and understanding and did not make me feel like an incompetent mother.
Thursday, I was feeling like a rockstar because all of the kids had woken up in time for us to go to the 8:45am Mass for the Feast of the Assumption of Mary. But by the time we actually made it into the van, 2/3 of the kids were crying and we arrived to church a little bit late. The kids were doing pretty well, until about halfway through mass it happened. Bananas was standing right next to me, took a misstep and bumped his chin on the pew in front of us, which bounced him backwards and, before I could catch him, he bumped the back of his head on the pew seat, and then slid underneath it. As I hurried out of the small echoing chapel, I think the priest had to actually stop speaking because Bananas was crying so loudly and it echoed. Yeah, that rockstar feeling dissipated by 9:30 that morning. Ugh. But the day was redeemed by having chocolate crepes for second breakfast with friends and then a late morning 4+mile run on the treadmill for me.
And finally, today, Bananas accidentally knocked a ceramic figurine off the kitchen counter where it fell onto our tiled floors causing it to break into several pieces. I hustled the kids out of the kitchen to clean it up, thinking it much worse than it was. I thought for sure that one of them had stuck themselves with a ceramic shard but they didn't. No need to break out the bandages.
But by the end of this week I am seriously contemplating wrapping the two year-old in bubble wrap or putting him in a plastic bubble. Just kidding. Sort of. I know that realistically kids need to experience life and that we cannot protect them from everything. I also know that I am a good mom, though another experienced mom had to remind me of that. I feel like I am always trying to prove that I am a good mom. But to whom am I trying to prove that undeniable fact? Well, to put it simply I am trying to prove it to myself and to my mom. My mom was a good mom and sometimes I feel like I don't measure up to her or that she judges me because my kids do fall and get scrapes, bumps, bruises, and broken noses. But getting those battle scars is part of growing up. They are my battle scars, too. I hurt when my kids hurt. I would do anything to protect them...anything but take away their experience as a kid. No, I don't want them to be seriously hurt or injured, but but bumps and bruises are going to happen and they are going to need to learn to right themselves and brush themselves off and learn that they are okay. I guess I need to do that as well. I've beaten myself up a lot this week, but I keep referring back to the text my friend sent:
"LOSE THE GUILT now!!! You did NOTHING wrong and EVERYTHING right. Kids are unpredictable and we are not God-- but He does send us angels and He sent you one yesterday" and "You are a GREAT Mom!!!!" I really, really needed to hear that and I still do. Because right now with Bananas I'm not feeling it. It's been a tough week for my little man and a tough week for his mama.
I feel very blessed to have a friend who texted me to check not only on Mr. Bananas but to check up on me. I think she knew that I was already upset with myself. She even arranged it so that her son (one of our beloved Flipper Coaches) would give Mr. Bananas a few swim lessons before the summer ended. I feel very blessed to once again be a part of a pool community who loves my kids. Seriously, on Monday L. was our angel masquerading as a pool manager. I feel very blessed that no one has called me out and berated me or question my parenting because I keep waiting for it to happen. And if it did, I don't think I would have a good enough answer to appease the judgmental mind. G. said it best by saying that kids are unpredictable. And they are. I don't take my job lightly.
I am so grateful for my three kids and for the community of friends and family who have helped us at one time or another. I don't think you can raise kids without a little help from your friends. Well, I certainly couldn't and I am grateful for each of those helping hands and to be given grace when I make mistakes.
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.