Friday, November 02, 2007

Disturbing Day

We were in Santa Cruz on Thursday, and after some discussion, we decided to head over to Natural Bridges for a brief visit. At first Ziad and Maya were playing on the small stone cliffs that overlook a large pool of water, well inland from the shore. Eventually, Ziad moved over to dig in the sand. Maya went up to the top of the cliff. After a while I decided to go check on her, but she was nowhere in sight. This was extremely scary, because I was at the highest point in the vicinity, and I had a good view all around me. I couldn't see her anywhere. I started calling her, loud enough so that the few people below me on the beach started looking at me and waving, but Maya herself did not respond. I panicked. Ziad was getting upset, too. I didn't know where to look, or where to go, so I kind of helplessly starting walking in circles, calling her name as loud as I could (which, really, is pretty loud, although the noise of the surf was louder). No answer, none. It seemed like this went on forever, and I wondered what to do. Finally, I saw her, walking back along the shelf of rock where people like to wander looking at tidepools. When I asked her later, she said she hadn't heard me calling at all, but had just decided to turn around and come back. Which means she had gone pretty far along that shelf of rock, far enough away from me not to be safe. I kept thinking, what if she had fallen into the water? The currents are rough there. Teenagers drown there every year. It can happen.

As soon as she got close enough, we all headed for the car. Maya got to hear an extremely long and emotional lecture about the many reasons why she should never, never, get out of earshot. What if she needed help? What if I did? As of last evening, I was still too upset to really talk to her normally. As of this morning, I'm still replaying the scene in my mind.

I think part of me is really worried that Maya is just too good to be true, and that something is going to happen to take her away. I worry about all my children, and love them all, too, but this fear I have about Maya goes above and beyond that. I never realized how superstitious I am until I looked at this side of myself, the side that believes all too easily that treasuring something puts it at risk.

And the thing is that I don't know what to do about this. I already watch her pretty closely. I can't see that hovering even more would be a good thing, but then, I never thought she would wander so far away from me anywhere, let alone along a rocky cliff next to strong ocean currents. I don't think that refusing to ever go anywhere near the ocean in the absence of a 1-1 parent-child ratio is really a good response either. But I sure as hell don't want a repeat of this episode. (And don't even bother telling me to chill. That is just not in the cards when it comes to my children.)

Well, Maya is OK. Realistically, she was not in much danger (but what about sneaker waves?) and I'm OK too, although I feel about five years older than I did Wednesday. Time to count our blessings, I think.


Blogger zelda said...

I could hardly bear to read this. I believe this is called a "freebie" and it serves as a check.

Kind of like leaving your child unstrapped in their carseat...not once...not twice...but THREE times (I couldn't bear to tell you about the third before). Kind of like that but without the element of being completely irresponsible.

7:15 PM  
Blogger Lesley said...

As you both know, we almost lost a girl scout at one of our past meetings. Initally, I was really upset by the fact that my kids were there to witness the aftermath. Now however, I'm really glad they were there. It's allowed for some serious conversation about accidents and death.

About a week ago Andrew asked me, "Did you know a boy drowned a Great America?" I answered that I did know that, and I told him what I knew about the incident. Which naturally led into another conversation about safety, and about why I scream at them to "stay with me! hold my hand! answer me when I call!" etc.... After I was done with my lecture, the kids said, "Oh like when the girl fell at the meeting... and could have died?"

Yes--- they finally get where I'm coming from.

7:45 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home