Monday 12 August 2013

There but for the grace

In an instant the whole world changed. I blinked and my mind saw ambulances and screaming and tears. A wheelchair. A coffin. A religious person might say there but for the the grace of God go I. Those words feel a little misshaped in my mouth. They aren't mine. And yet maybe they are true.

Two years. It's gone by in an instant. My baby boy who just two years ago nearly didn't stay on this earth is now much more than a sweet lump of flesh and smiles and tears. He's a person. With likes and dislikes, moods, and attitudes. He's perfection. And annoying sometimes.

He's our whole world.

Two year olds don't really understand birthdays. Cake, and presents, and general celebration of their very existence. That makes total sense to them. But the marking of time passing is beyond their comprehension. We know that he will be as happy with a birthday gift of socks as anything else. And, in fact, someone does get him socks and he opens the bag with shock, wonder, and excitement. But still. As his moms we want to celebrate Mac's circling of the the sun with something grand. We know we don't need it to prove our love. Or maybe we don't. 

Tracy decides that she wants to buy him his first bike. She's seen Youtube videos of peddle-less Strider bikes and has to have one. And ever since our nephews visited with their skateboards the "boys boards" have been of particular interest too. So a bike, a board, and a helmet it is. 

Helmet painting done by my talented wife. 

We take him to the skate park to play with his new treasures. Also, because when you have two photographer moms there is always a search for the perfect backdrop. 

Mac is playing. I am photographing. Tracy is hovering. I can almost hear the sound of helicopter blades circling above his head. She is annoying me. She's in my shot. And he's just a kid having fun. Let him be I think. I see colourful graffiti and interesting lines. She sees a death trap of steel and cement. 

He's playing. I'm snapping. He loves to watch the skateboard go down the ramp all by itself. The wonder of gravity is not lost on him. Whop, whop, whop, whop. My wife demonstrates helicopter parenting like it's an infomercial. 

But he's fine. Secure in his footing. Not actually standing on the board. Yet. And she takes a moment away. It only takes a moment. 

Ambulances. Screaming. Tears. A wheelchair. A Coffin.

I watch through my viewfinder as his feet move backwards, over the steel edge of the half pipe. He's not wearing his helmet. It's a long drop. My heart stops. And I scream.

Two moms rush to his side and wipe his tears. My eyes search for cuts, bruises, broken bones, a cracked skull.  But there are no signs of an injury. It was a long drop. I don't know how that's possible.

My heart is racing and I'm ready to head home. Back to the baby-proofed house that lacks cement death traps.

But his tears wipe away easily and he's not quite done.  We decide to let him stay but, baby, lets play on the ground OK?

With the board in his hand he's ready to go again. He smiles and his little finger points to the happy face sticker on his skateboard. 

"Yes baby. That's Nanny." (If you are new here and this reference doesn't make much sense to you then you should really click over HERE for the backstory). 

And there but for the grace of God (and Shirley) go I. 

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