Tuesday, February 26, 2013

the ledge.

I wanted to write about the trip we took to the cape last week and the incredible day we had there at the beach.  I wanted to write about how much the ocean calms me, but motherhood is full of surprises.  So instead of taking you to the beach, I will take you to the ledge.

There is a ledge we mamas stand on from time to time.  It is a ledge between calm and chaos, between a sense of security and the abyss of fear.  Many things can take us to the ledge, but none so quickly as the realization that there is something wrong with our child.  Those moments in the middle of the night when you touch a burning forehead, or you see blood, or you listen to inconsolable crying, or you know there is pain you can't fix with a kiss.  There are moments we realize how fragile and precious our children are and how completely, utterly and dissapointingly human we are, unable to always keep them safe.  We step out onto the ledge between knowing exactly what to do and completely freaking out.

As mothers, we need other mothers in our life.  We need mothers we trust, that we can call to talk us down from the ledge.  They may be our girlfriends, our sisters, our mothers, or grandmothers.  Women who know, and who will take our hand and remind us that while we are just human, some small part of us knows what to do and that these little people in our care will be okay.  They tell us we are not alone, we don't have to be scared, it's not as bad as your google search said it will be. 

I have learned that all mothers are amazing.  That just as easily as we can step on to the ledge, we can be the grounding force that talks another mother down.  On Sunday, I got a call from my sister.  She was on the ledge.  Her six week old had her first cold, they are so fragile at six weeks.  I talked her down.  Just half a day later, it was my turn.  I fed my baby a muffin and ten minutes later I found her covered in hives.  I stepped, no I leaped onto that ledge.  I called the doctor and while waiting for a call back, I called a friend, a mother, who has food allergies.  She talked me down.

Once off the ledge, I calmly drove my baby to the ER, learned she probably has an allergy to tree nuts, and that there will be a lot I have to learn in the next short while about feeding her and keeping her safe.  I am only human and these little people in our lives are oh so precious.  But it is so much easier to be a mother, when you know you have other mothers in your life to talk you down from the ledge, or to catch you should you ever fall into the abyss. 

So now let's all step off the ledge together and go to the beach.  I did mention how much the ocean calms me, didn't I?


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