I am a neurotic person. There, I said it. I worry unnecessarily about many many things, but I do everything in my power to stop myself. Usually I can calm myself with a simple: "you are being irrational, that won't happen."
But what if it did?
Let's take yesterday as an example. I got a call about 2:30pm from my mom telling me that my niece fell out of a tree and was impaled on a tree branch/stick and was being airlifted to Boston.
[News stories about it can be found here and here. The second site has a video link on the page too. They interview my stepfather and his mother.]
Now, as far as I know at this point, Mo is fine. Or, as fine as you can be given the circumstances. (She had surgery last night to remove the 7" stick, which had pierced her liver, but otherwise did no significant damage.) She's still in the ICU pretty drugged up and she won't get out of the hospital for a week or so, but she'll be back to normal in no time.
As a parent, this gives you pause.
It's irrational to think that I could ever stop Russell from horsing around, playing rough, or taking a tumble. I mean, kids climb (and fall out of) trees, it's the way it is. But to know that one random freak accident could do them serious harm...that significantly impedes my abilities to be rational in the face of my irrational fears.
Accidents happen, kids get hurt. Freak accidents tend to make the news with increasing regularlity these days, and I have to remind myself that these are still relatively rare. (If they were commonplace, they wouldn't be news...) Heck, in the last 24 hours, I've heard four different stories about my dad falling out of trees, off of ranger stations, and off of overpasses. He's fine. Most of the time, kids are fine.
I don't intend to keep my kid in a bubble, in fact, I'd fail if I tried. What I will do is tell him I love him every day, love every minute I have with him, and hope that he never has one of those freak accidents that doesn't have a happy ending.