Monday, February 25, 2013
The Worst Day
This is Noah. He has challenged me from the very start. He just did everything so darn early. He skipped crawling entirely and went straight to walking at 10 months old. All my other little ones were just barely wobbling around at their first birthday party, but by his, he was climbing all sorts of things.
If I listed all the crazy things he has done in his short life, this blog would take me hours to finish. We'll just say every day since he's been mobile, there's been something that has freaked me out or convinced me he has a guardian angel (who's begging for relief, I bet!)
This child is responsible for my worst day. You'd think with all we've been through, one of those days would be the worst, but no. The worst day was when we had to call 911 because that little sweetie above, at that tender, tiny age...was missing.
He was 18 months old and still my little shadow. Everywhere I went, he was there. I got nothing done without him beside me and that was okay by me. This day in particular my older girls had begged me to "walk the dogs" just outside our fence line and I allowed them to. Noah had followed them outside to the gate, but I quickly retrieved him. He watched them go outside the gate and "walk the dogs" (why they needed to walk the dogs when we have 5 acres is beyond me).
A little later that evening, I got a phone call right as dinner was coming out of the oven. Ordinarily I wouldn't answer it, but it was a friend I knew was having a rough time and she needed to discuss something pretty heavy with me. As I am talking to her, Jamie is getting out a new recipe "Firecracker Salmon" and whispered for me to taste it. WHEW! It was hot, so we were scraping off a bit of the "fire" and making all the kids plates. My phone call was about 10 minutes long and I hung up and called the kids down for supper. In came the troops ...except Noah. I asked the girls to bring him, figuring he was watching TV with them and they said he wasn't with them. So I hollered up for the boys to bring down Noah and got "He's not up here Mom." Something inside me just knew. We started looking for him around the house. The more places he wasn't, the more the panic spread. We all raced outside. No Noah. Back inside, this time hardcore. I checked the dryer, I tossed all the cushions off the couch, moved furniture. If you've ever seen one of those movies where they toss an entire living space, that was the scene here. The kids and Jamie were outside, scouring the woods, calling his name and as I walked back outside, panic all over me, Jamie looked at me and said (I'll never forget this...) "Tell me this isn't happening....this isn't happening!!" The scene was insane, emotional and just intense. I can't remember how many times I went inside and outside and finally dialed 911 and broke down completely when I was asked what he was wearing. It was right after I hung up the phone that I heard the scream "WE FOUND HIM." I swear I FLEW down the stairs. There was no walking, no running...my feet had wings. I just ran, screaming his name, bawling....running, crying, grabbing him from my oldest son who had found him and collapsing right there, on the side of the road, squeezing this child so hard I doubt he could breathe. I was a mess. A complete wreck. Kyle, who found him, handed him off to me, hugged us and just walked inside. He wouldn't talk for a while. He was just wounded.
Noah had, for the first time in his entire life, opened our door, walked outside, across our large lawn, opened the gate, walked across the ROAD and was in the neighbors yard diagonal from us. 18 months old. We figured he got the idea seeing his sister's go out of the gate earlier in the day, but he had never once strayed from our home, never once been outside on his own, never once been ALONE period. He was always wanting to be on me, or with me, or hanging with his siblings. It was just a shock. An absolute shock he would venture so far, so fast, with no advance warning to it's possibility. We all kind of picked at dinner, and just sort of stared at each other. As we were eating, the sheriff rolled up and he had a chaplain with him. That was a huge reality check. I cried all night long, barely putting Noah down.
For the next two days, I cried on and off and gave myself a good emotional beating for being a "bad mom." Once I got over the feelings, I realized the logic was skewed. I took one phone call and made dinner plates. I wasn't off getting high somewhere or neglecting my child. This thing just happened and I realized then, I had judged so many people, so many times for "bad parenting..." And yet, this thing happened to ME. To Melissa, the wonderMom. The helicopter, hovering, checklist, babybook keeping Melissa. It was a hard lesson in humility. And in how precious my children are.
Noah still challenges me. He scares me. He has made me question the how of my parenting. As in how do I keep a little boy who doesn't understand how fragile he is, safe? How can I maintain my sanity knowing at any second he could do something to top his last crusade to stop my heart? I have to live on faith with this child. I've had to examine my own personal sense of justice and the idea that bad things only happen to bad parents and if you're a good enough parent, you can control all things and insulate yourself from anything bad. He's been a game-changer. A heart-softener. A soul-searching antidote to my belief that a certain method of parenting is a guarantee of a certain outcome. He's my faith builder, my sunshine and my love.
Noah. Oh boy, what are you here for? Whatever it is, I'm sure glad I get to be the one to watch you grow from challenging child to amazing man ;) Now just give your Momma's heart a wee rest, would ya??