Thursday, July 14, 2011

Dear Careful

Dear Careful,

Growing up, you were drilled into my head.  My parents always told me to be careful, as I do to my kids when they go off to school or to a gymnastics class.  I am very careful about certain things to avoid property damage or bodily injuries.  I am careful about putting away sharp things so no one gets hurt.  I am careful about not dropping things to dent the hardwood floor.  Well, it's one thing to damage your own property, and another to accidentally damage the property of someone else.

On a very windy day in the Windy City, I picked up my Dear Son from school and walked to our car.  One of the things I am very careful about is not dinging another car with my car door.  The kids know this well since they hear it ALL THE TIME: "Be careful opening your car door!"  On windy days, I even hold the door with my leg or arm while I am strapping DS in his seat, as I did that particular day.  After I got into the driver's seat, a mom signaled me to roll down my window.  Clearly annoyed but very civilized, she said to me, "You need to be careful because you just dinged my door."  I saw her pristine blue car with the silver ding.  I was so embarrassed and felt terribly.  I apologized profusely to her, and she just said briefly, "It's okay; the wind did it."  For the rest of that day, I felt awful because what I didn't want to happen happened despite my being very careful.  I must have let go of holding the car door at some point and the wind got to it.  My car is full of dings, but it is 7 years old.  Yet all those dings do not undo that one ding I made that day on that woman's car. 

But what can possibly be worse than damaging someone else' property?  I needed to sew a pair of my Dear Daughter's shorts as it grew a hole in the back seam.  Instead of leaving the kids downstairs to run wild, I thought I would take the opportunity to do a sewing project with the kids.  I had everything I needed at home, so we proceeded to crafting.  We sat on the carpeted floor of my bedroom in front of a sunny window.  DD wanted to learn how to sew, so I made cautionary remarks about the dangers of a needle, how pointy it is, and how careful she has to be.  After she finished sewing, I took the needle and placed it next to me out of the reach of the kids.  When we finished the project, I asked the kids to help me clean up.  I am usually very mindful of where a sharp needle is, and always remember to put it away so no one gets hurt.  As DD was picking up the scrap pieces of felt, I suddenly remembered to put away my sewing needle.  At that same moment, she exclaimed, "Ouch!"  She had swept her hand over the light-colored carpet to pick up felt pieces and jabbed it right into the needle.  Not the pointy side, but the eye of the needle side, which meant the wound is a gaping hole.

Shocked, I immediately apologized and took away the needle.  A few seconds later, DD began to cry.  Not an "ouch" cry, but an all-out wailing cry.  I guess it took a few seconds for the pain to register.  Now some children don't show as much as a flinch to a boo boo.  MY children get a scrape on the knee and cannot walk for a day.  DD would get a cut and become totally undone.  (We honestly don't know how she will ever survive labor pains and childbirth).  As the tears streamed down her cheeks, I watched her and felt horrible.  What a horrible mom to cause such bodily injury to her own child.  I understand that accidents happen, but to me, this kind of accident is unbearable, simply because normally I am SO meticulous about such things.  This is admittedly ten times worse than dinging someone else' car!  To add to DD 's misery, her violin lesson is one hour away, and she has a wound right between her third and fourth fingers on the palm side of her left hand.

To be an even worse mother, I HAD to take a picture of the finished products for my blog (and I mentally slapped my own hand as I took the picture).  I compromised by not including DD's teary face in the picture.  Of course, DS, who rarely willingly poses for photos, smiled so sweetly that I just had to take the darn picture.  After lots of sorries, hugs, kisses, and ice, DD felt better.  I was still kicking myself long after she was better.  So much for being careful. 

Nothing is worse than being overly cautious about something and have it backfire on you.  So Dear Careful, please continue to watch over me and not let me slip too often.  As a member of the middle-aged club, my brain is just not as efficient as it once was, and I do need a little extra help from time to time. 


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