Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Wagon


One of the beauties of spending time with a two year old is sharing their gift for observation, clarity and simplicity. My daughter, Allie, has taught me this again. At two years, eight months, Allie is sweet and bright and beautiful . She’s got two big sisters to contend with as well as an innate desire to master the world around her.

Some months back Allie and Lana (six) were playing out front. Allie rode in the wagon while Lana pulled it up and down the sidewalk. At one point Lana made a sharp turn and Allie was pitched from the wagon. The injuries were to the soul rather than to the body and after the initial insult, the tears were dried and the game continued. I thought that would be the end of it. It wasn’t.

The incident with the wagon keeps recurring whenever the topic of safety is broached. If I’m strapping Allie into her car seat I’ll explain that I’m doing it because I don’t want anything bad to happen to her. She’ll say, “Yeah. Like the wagon.” Or we might be crossing the street and I insist on holding her hand. I tell her that I don’t want her to get hurt and she’ll repeat her mantra, “Like the wagon.” To her, the most devastating thing possible has happened to her. She was jolted out of a wagon and fell twelve inches to the ground. Her mind cannot fathom a greater tragedy. Being hit by a car or some other horror is just too abstract to comprehend. Allie, I have a wish for you. As your mother who loves you infinitely, I hope falling out of that wagon is the worst thing that ever happens to you. But what are a mother’s wishes worth?

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