I don’t want to be the crocodile mom

I’m sure she’s fine, I think to myself, but I tip toe into the room, both babies sound asleep, arms relaxed, I get close to Fiona, she’s breathing normal, she’s fine just like I thought. I just had that fear, “am I like the parent who let her kid get eaten by an alligator?” I don’t want to be that parent, even though in my heart of hearts I know anyone can become that parent, anything can happen to our kids no matter how close we watch, how careful we are. Playing in the creek today, a section not too deep, Fiona decided to swim, I look and she’s facedown moving her arms and legs like she’s doing the breath stroke. At first I thought she was fine, that she actually figured out how to swim, I hesitated running into the creek to grab her, I thought she would find her way up, then I thought “Oh shit, is my child drowning in front of my eyes and I’m just sitting here?” I ran into the creek, grabbed her, pat her back thinking she would cough up water and not a drop! She held her breath the whole time, which she has been practicing in the tub. She’s fearless! But I have to teach them both how to swim now! Especially Fiona. I think she’s a natural born swimmer. I learned water safety at a very young age, we lived in San Diego and my dad was a sailor so I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know how to tread water and float on my back. It was non-negotiable. So much to teach them. Everyone’s always talking about which pre-school they should send their kids to, I’m thinking basic survival skills, things they won’t learn in a pre-school. There’s so much stuff they need to know about life. If the sign says “Don’t go swimming, there’s crocodiles” You don’t go in. I need to teach my kids this stuff. “Jack don’t run off, you need to stay in my sight, someone could snatch you” I tell him. You gotta teach them. I gotta teach them how to swim before I’m “that mom” Some things I can prepare for, like preventing drowning!!!

We made it home safe and after all good play sessions they are sound asleep taking a much needed nap. It’s almost 3:00PM, usually they would be waking up at this time, I wonder how long they would sleep, (If I let them) Even though I’d love the time off I’ll wake them up soon so they won’t stay up too late tonight. I do need to take a little while in my studio. Just work in my notebooks. It’s been awhile, it feels anyhow, that I’ve worked in my studio. I don’t feel deprived though, I was able to facilitate tons of creativity at the playdate on Tuesday. I let the kids go wild, we made cards for all the teachers, the kids all got covered in paint and rinsed off in the little kiddie pool, I realized being with kids, especially doing art or going hiking does fill my creative side. It’s a welcome feeling, I used to be so connected with kids and connected with my inner child, my quest for knowledge, my curiosity. Everyone always teased me for asking “Why” all the time. Alan calls me “Teachers pet” because he knows how many questions I ask my teachers when I’m taking classes. I feel like some of that “essential me” has been shamed out of me through the years. I feel like I lost my deep connection with children when I went through years of infertility, maybe I wasn’t meant to be around kids. I feel like all the years I dreamed of becoming a teacher, took the MSAT and CBEST, then was somehow re-routed into other stuff, told it was the worst job ever, didn’t pay well, ect, that affected me. Lately I’ve been thinking about it again, I’m good at it, I connect with kids. But then I wonder, will that take away from my own art practice? Or is that an art practice in itself? I feel my zest for life returning in an organic way. Even though I couldn’t get pregnant and it took so long to become a mom, I feel like I’m right where I need to be, but possibly can dig a little deeper, can give myself, some of myself to my community, to the children, to the future in a different way, an additional way, to accompany my personal art and writing practice. It’s kind of funny, the first job I had in college was in special education, and I was going to get my special education teaching certificate, that was over twenty years ago. Now I have a daughter with hearing loss, I am learning sign language. Is it fate? Was it fate my mom died when she did?  Is it fate I am sitting here now after a near death experience with my child (that’s an exaggeration) writing publicly? Hello World, Here I am.

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