Since we started our family sabbatical here in Costa Rica, I have been an unusually overprotective mom. I suppose feeling nervous about things is a side-effect of getting out of my comfort zone on a big trip like this.
I just read something on Facebook on a homeschooling group I belong to. A woman mentioned that her 3.5-year-old had just been diagnosed with an incurable brain tumor. Doctors told her the child only had a year to live. Oh my God! I can’t even IMAGINE what it would be like to hear that one of my children had only one more year with us!
When I read that, all of my dark, nervous nelly moods were put into perspective. I was reminded of all the positive things I have in my life. I have my kids. I have my spouse. We all have our health. We are not hungry. We are not thirsty. And we have each other, other family, and friends to rely on if and when times get tough. It’s a good life.
My Addy fell off her stool at the counter the other night. She was reaching for a piece of broccoli and her stool slipped out from under her. On the way down, she slammed her middle HARD on the edge of the stool. I thought for sure she’d punctured some internal organ. As I gathered her sobbing little self into my arms, all I could think was, “I don’t even know where the hospital is!”
I’m not usually a helicopter mom. When the kids get hurt, I assume the best and stay upbeat, so as not to alarm them. But, this time, I found it difficult to put on a happy face. All I could see was the worst possible scenario unfolding. Addy, battered from the accident. And here we were in another country, away from our regular life. I was beside myself for a few minutes, until I was sure she wasn’t seriously hurt.
She wasn’t hurt. She was ok. Just as it does most of the time, things worked out fine. Bad things happen, sure, to all of us. There is no light without dark. But I can’t sit there dwelling on what could happen unless I want to make myself crazy. I have to get out there and play the game as much as I can, while I can, instead of sitting around waiting for something b-b-b-bad to happen.
The school the kids will be attending for a month or two here in Costa Rica has barbed wire rimming its fence. But then, how many school shootings have happened in the U.S., barbed wire or no? The essential question here is where are any of us 100% safe?
The answer is we don’t know. Sometimes it’s the place we perceive to be the safest that ends up being the most dangerous. And, other times, the places that seem unfamiliar and scary are rimmed in fear only of my own making. All I can do is make the best choices I can, love my kids with all my heart, and stop worrying.