Friday, May 29, 2009

Don't Anybody Panic.

There is this infamous family video - decades old now - where my cousins and I are playing in my aunt's backyard, and my mom and her sisters are chatting away on the back patio. It's a very peaceful scene, very Normal Rockwell.

Suddenly, along comes 6-year-old Tricia on a scooter. I careen across the screen, elbows over tin cups, scrambling to get my footing as the scooter wins the laws of velocity. There are also some carefully placed sound effects, enhanced by digital technology, which heighten the drama of my entrance and exit.

The women, with their deep conversation, sunny outfits, and glasses of frosty iced tea, don't move. My mom has become famous in our family for the expression on her face: she merely lifts an eyebrow. Nothing more.

For years, I have watched her lack of response, and I have teased her for her lack of compassion. Honestly? Didn't you even feel compelled to offer a hand as I cartwheeled past you on hands, knees, and scooter wheels? Nothing? No response?

She has always said, "There were just so many of you, and somebody was always getting hurt. It just happens to be you in that video. But we learned to wait and see if you needed us."

Sure enough. I get that now.

Our home is a myriad of splinters, scrapes, cuts, and bruises. Good heavens, it's not even June and my kids' knees are wrecked. We go through about one Band-Aid a day, and that's not even Band-Aid therapy. Those are real deal, oh my goodness, somebody stop the bleeding.

So when they skitter across my path with varying degrees of drama, I no longer jump to see who needs kisses or cleaned or comforted. If they need me, they'll let me know. And they can certainly be the judges of this need: I don't need to chase them around wondering if I missed my chance.

I get it now.


Polly said...


QueenSamiJ said...

HAHAHAHA I LOVE that video! And so true it is! Kids panic when you panic... and AP will go down in history as the unamused mother that all of us could learn from! (I don't even have kids! lol)

Alli said...

There's something about this entry, T, that makes me smile. I'm not sure if it's the thought of you skidding by with a frantic "OH MY GOSH" look on your sweet little face, or the understanding that with age comes understanding.

Either way, you always end up being my hero-writer.

Meghan said...

Great post, though I was really hoping to see a link to that video before I reached the end of it. :)

We should pack a box of band-aids and get our kids together at a park one of these days!