They’d been begging me to go all summer. And the truth is, I love this place as much as they do, but it can be dangerous and I tend to fret about them the whole time. Because it’s open to the public, some days the crowd is overwhelming, it takes about two seconds to loose sight of my four as they scatter into the water, disappearing into crowd. With just two eyes I cannot track the four of them at once, and in the din of the water and squeals of delight, they can’t hear me calling–
So when they begged me again to go, I thought it over for hours before making a decision. I figured if we went, it would be safer in the later afternoon, after the heat of the day, and hopefully, after the crowds. I was mostly right.
I Saw It Coming
There’s nothing quite like observing children in this state of free play. These Last days of summer are made for moments like this and I hate that my fear and worry has kept them from this particular joy, for the bulk of the season.
As the sun bares down its last rays, I start to second guess myself. I snap a hundred photos in under an hour and their sheer bliss makes me almost forget why we don’t come here more.
But in a moment, I’m reminded. I see it happen, as almost all childhood accidents do, in slow motion, with me too far away to catch her–she never saw him coming, and I know he didn’t see her either. As that blond boy tore past her, he set her off balance and she smacked down hard on the wet cement.
I hear her knees hit and cringed as I raced through fountains to grab her up. My temper flashed at that unnamed child, I wanted to yank him back and show him what he’d done. He didn’t even stop.
Scooping her into my arms, I glanced back looking for him, but he had already disappeared. Blotting her bloody knee, I remember why I don’t bring them here much anymore.
The voice inside chides me about how I knew this could happen, about how I brought them here anyway and used poor judgement to give in to their pleas. The hard truth about motherhood, is that it’s impossible to protect them from every scrape and spill.
Driving home, I thought about this boy, how he careened into my baby, causing a wound, how his obliviousness cut short an otherwise joyful afternoon. I thought about all of the times I have ripped through life, knocking people down–not stopping to look or even acknowledge my carelessness. He didn’t set out to trip her, he was merely lost in his own pursuit of fun. She didn’t see him, because she was equally lost in her own pursuit. Accidents happen, but as Christians, we’re called to live intentional lives–to not be so caught up in our own pursuits.
Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:4
We’re always racing. I’m thankful for the way God reminds me the cost of my high-speed pursuits, thankful for the ways he nudges me to slow down. Thankful that my baby’s knee is ok and that we both learned a little something at the water park, that this time, the stakes were low.
Are you in a hurry? How do you find ways to slow down, to be more intentional in your pursuits?