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On Being a Total Failure of a Parent

Posted by Rachel R. Vanderveen on Tuesday, June 26th, 2012 at 1:02pm.

It’s 1am and here I am at the laptop, not able to sleep because I’m seeing the events of this afternoon play over and over in my mind.

It all started with an innocent trip to Ikea to look at cabinets for the basement. In the parking lot, Clint unloaded Trin, and Faith and Nilo were going to walk. But sometimes I just like to carry my kiddies because then I can whisper things into their ears. It’s fun to carry them. But both wanted to be carried this time, and I’m always up for a challenge in that department.

Let it be noted that Clint is always trying to get me to stop with all the “challenges” with the kids. I love to pick them up and then toss them on the couch or throw them up high and let them fall on the bed. I remember how thrilling it was when I was a kid when my mom and dad would throw me up high and catch me. I loved it. Clint is always squinting and lurching when he sees me throw the kids around, but he keeps relatively quiet as he sees the kids don’t get hurt and we’re all in peals of laughter, enjoying playing around.

That was not the case earlier today.

I picked up Faithy and had her on one hip and then grabbed Nilo around the waist and tried to shimmy him up onto my other hip by tossing him up higher and higher and then catching him with one arm as he squeals with delight. Clint is watching all this with that scared look in his eyes, silently begging me to just let the kids walk. Meanwhile I’m thinking, “Lighten up, Clint. I’ve never dropped them before!” And of course, just then, Nilo rears back and starts to fall towards the ground. I grab his leg as it shoots up in the air and hold with all my might. Clint reaches out too, but it’s too late. Nilo falls. On the concrete. Right on the top of his head.

Suddenly he is screaming; Faith is now crying. Clint is consoling, and I’m running around in circles, not sure what to do. Guilt washes over me like a wave of bricks. I feel like I can’t breathe. I kneel down to Faith as Clint is holding Nilo tight.

“What’s wrong Faithy? What happened?” I ask, wondering if somehow I had injured her too.

“I’m sad because Nilo got hurt,” She says through tears.

I turn my attention to Nilo who is clinging to Clint, and I look at Clint who has that satisfied look on his face that says “See, I knew one day your ticket would come up.” But he’s a good man, so even though his eyes say that, his mouth says, “It’s OK, Love. It could have happened to anyone.” I’m standing in the middle of the chaos, and I don’t know where to turn. I need to hold my boy, but as I approach him, he shrinks back closer to Clint. That is understandable but also totally heart-breaking. Eventually, I convince him to let me hold him and we all walk into Ikea as I’m whispering my apologies into his ear over and over.

We decide to sit and eat at Ikea and I just can’t let it go. I keep staring off into the distance with the head bonk playing over and over in my head. Clint doesn’t even have to ask what’s going on.

“Love, let it go. Kids fall down all the time.” And I know it’s true. I know they fall all the time. But this time I dropped him. I keep reaching over to Nilo to feel if he’s getting a goose egg as he’s eating his Swedish meatballs. Finally, on the fifth time of checking his head, he says, “I’m OK, mom.” He’s 2, people! How sensitive our children are to how we’re feeling!

Once finished our dinner, we walk towards the cabinets and I’m just starting to let my mind let go of the epic failure when Faith approaches Clint and asks to be carried while he’s talking to the cabinet people. I head her off at the pass and offer to pick her up so Clint won’t be disturbed while he’s looking at cabinets. She shrinks back and says, “I don’t know, mom. Are you strong enough?” She was dead serious people. Dead serious.

“Am I strong enough???” I ask incredulously. I snatch her up and throw her on my shoulders for a piggy back. But inside, I’m actually terrified of dropping her. She holds on tight. Tighter than she ever has.

What a feeling. I came down to my laptop tonight because I can’t sleep. As I sort through these feelings I’m having, I do know---despite my sassy little blog title---that I am not a total failure of a parent. I’m not the only parent who has let their kid fall down, or turned for a second and found their kid rolled off the couch and onto the floor. But boy it stings. We want more than anything to protect our children from every harm that can befall them, and boy is it hard to be the cause of the harm..

Once we got home from Ikea, I began to lighten up, and as Clint I discussed it all once more, and I began to perk up. He then thought it would be time to lighten the mood.

“So, Love,” He says to me, “You realize then when Nilo grows up, and he does something stupid and people ask him if when he was young…”

Very funny, Clint. Very funny.

Rachel Vanderveen

The Vanderveen Team
Maxwell South Star Realty
Phone: 403.253.5678 Fax: 403.592.6736

2 Responses to "On Being a Total Failure of a Parent"

Linda Dees wrote: I'm laughing out loud....good one Clint!
I'm pretty sure I failed miserably at being a Mom when I dislocated Daniel's arm when he was two. All so he wouldn't jump in a huge mud puddle. Yup! yanked it right out of the socket...good Mom huh???
Let it be know that you're an awesome Mommy of the best!!!

Posted on Tuesday, June 26th, 2012 at 5:08pm.

Rachel R. Vanderveen wrote: I never heard that story! LOL. Man, it's tough being a mommy sometimes!

Posted on Wednesday, June 27th, 2012 at 11:43am.

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