Every parent probably wishes to be right next to their children when they fall and get hurt. I really never believe people when they profess that tough love is the way to parent. Mistakes will happen, and lessons will be learned – but don’t you wish they could be learned in a more gentle way?
What happens when in the span of a few short hours, you really are there to catch them in one minute and no where in sight the next. Yesterday between the hours of 3:00 and 6:00 this is exactly what happened.
When Max’s bus arrives home from school, I stand at the bottom of the steps and wait. Sometimes he jumps to me, sometimes he walks proudly down the steps and sometimes he stands waiting with not an ounce of energy left in his tiny body for me to carry him home. Yesterday, as I was walking toward the bus, he greeted me by falling head first down the steps toward the ground. I was right there. I was thankfully and blessedly close enough to catch him before he hit the ground. He was fine- not a scratch, not a bruise, but too scared out of this mind to even speak. I don’t know how it happened, no one is to blame, and falls will be and are part of his life. But, I have never been so thankful to be standing so close. I was there to catch him when he fell and I will be forever grateful.
On the heels of that scarier than I would like moment, came another potentially scarier one. Later in the day, during an activity at hebrew school, a young child in Max’s class, who is usually perfectly accepting, embarrassed and upset him by exclaiming that Max can’t do the activity, he can’t walk, he can’t do anything, and how is he supposed to help them? To which, Max tried to explain and then began to cry. Tears, real tears in front of his class, despite his best efforts to stand up for himself and be heard. The teacher did all the right things, the child apologized, learned a lesson, the other children learned something too and they all went home.
But, for this fall, I wasn’t there to catch him. I will never be there for these kinds of falls. As grateful as I am to catch him falling off the bus, I am equally grateful that taunting and teasing rarely happen to Max. He is loved and respected and treated fairly. Except, when he isn’t. Those are the kinds of falls that no matter how hard I try, I will not be able prevent. Those are the hurts for which no band-aid in the world, not even a Superhero band-aid, can make better.