Joshua was screaming as Michelle rocked him back and forth crying.
He’d fallen off the bed.
A very tall bed, mind you.
And landed right on his head.
On a very thin carpet.
The bump on his head was already huge.
I instantly thought back to when Celia was his age and had had a big fall. We’d called our family doctor in a panic, and he calmly had said, “Did she cry right away?” Yes. “Then, don’t worry. She’ll be fine. Kids are built tough.”
Michelle was frantic. I said, “Let me hold him.”
Sometimes, when a kid is hurt, the parents can make them freak out even more if they’re all worked up about it. Michelle handed Joshua over to me and went to get some medicine.
We actually knew a big fall was coming, and were about to prevent it. Joshua had just started rolling around more assertively, and so Michelle was in the process of clearing out the crib to put him there for his nap, rather than the bed. She’d put him in the middle of the bed and turned her back for one or two seconds.
Unfortunately, she saw it all. She saw him hurtle off the side, as if in slow motion, and hit the ground head first, twisting his neck dangerously.
With such a vivid picture in her mind, it took her longer to calm down than Joshua. That night she woke up every couple of hours to make sure he was okay. Thankfully, our son is just fine, but it’s a good reminder.
Life is precious. We know people personally who’ve lost kids at young ages due to what seem like normal circumstances – choking on a bead, running into the street, drowning in a kid-pool.
Parents need to strike a delicate balance of alert watchfulness and abstaining from paranoia. Kids need to have the freedom to explore this world on their own, but safely.
Striking that balance is probably one of the most challenging parental tasks throughout a child’s life. We all probably know a few “helicopter parents” who are always hovering over their children, controlling their every action and “protecting” them from harm. We also probably all know a few “lackadaisical parents” who aren’t nearly involved enough in their kids’ development and safety.
And no matter what kind of parent you are, bad things do happen. That’s life.
It makes me more peaceful to think that Jesus himself said kids’ angels have direct “face-to-face” time with God. In other words, they’ve got a lot of extra help protecting those kids. Because let’s face it, they need it.