First day of preschool. (In all honesty it is the second day of preschool as I forgot to take a photo on the first day, the beginning of a long tradition: second day school pictures.)
Safety pins, nuts, bees, string, buttons, paint, medicine, cars, bikes, jungle gyms, twirling, dancing, sleeping, water, earth, breathing, blood and oxygen. This is just a partial list of what can kill a child. Your child, my child, a child so perfect I get angry that the world itself does not match her.
Electrical outlets and plastic bags. I am not trying to scare you, but oleander, azalea, wisteria, even buttercup, a name so sweet it actually does catch flies. Poisonous flowers admired by a race with a 100% mortality rate, annual or perennial no matter. From the moment Zoey was born I have been picking up stray bobby pins from the carpet.
Shopping carts. Improper use of child seat can lead to head injury, even death. I need cereal, milk, pasta, and Zoey is so big now she likes to walk. Hold onto the cart, I tell her, capellini, fettuccini, fusilli, and when I turn around she is gone.
She is more likely to die of a heart attack. And yet I worry about the monster in the closet, on the corner, the monster in aisle 5 perusing the bread while wearing Dockers and a baseball hat. I am a worrier, always have been, wielding my power of what if. Of course this power is blunt, fuzzy, flaccid to be frank. I pick up bobby pins because they glint in the light; the man in aisle 5 does not even look up at me.
But what if is a question, and I don't want to parent in the unknown. How then do I mother in a world that at times seems so dark? 800,000 kids reported missing each year, 203,000 of which were family abductions, 58,000 non-family abductions, only 115 of which were stereotypical kidnappings. Somewhere in there is a number that is supposed to make me feel better, I think, a percent for the supposed masses like me who read People magazine. (But I am not a mass and my child is #1. A 1 in however many, I don't care, the solution to parenting not in denial but in acceptance of reality. Shopping carts kill.)
This is very hard for me, a woman who gets strength from worry. Nothing is more difficult than the powerlessness of parenting, plastic bags and marbles, chasing balls across the street. But what if is hardly preventative and worry is only the fear we manufacture. If I spend my time worrying then I miss that first day of preschool, the sundress she wore that reminds me of Fruit Stripes gum, how she came home chattering about her new friend named Ellie, a paper caterpillar colored red in one hand. Which is not to say that I have gone lax, but without imagined worry perhaps I will be more sensitive to sensing real danger.
Trans-fats and glycerides. She was in the cookie aisle all along.
I included this video because if anything ever does happen to my child I am totally tossing someone up in the air like this motherfucking water buffalo. Just sayin.'