We visited the world’s most crowded pumpkin farm yesterday, and as we were weaving our way through the dodge-’em-car parking lot Dylan obliviously stepped directly into the path of a moving vehicle. I mean, like one more inch and the guy would have run over his foot, if he hadn’t knocked him down completely and smashed him into liverwurst. JB and I both lunged for Dylan at the same time, chastised him for not being more careful, and then I grabbed hold of the back of his collar in order to physically steer him through the rest of the lot. Except I didn’t just latch onto the fabric, I sort of gripped the entire back of his neck so I was practically Vulcan-nerve-pinching him as we walked along. I was so furious, you see. Just absolutely angry as hell. It was a familiar sensation, I feel this way every time one of my kids does something stupidly dangerous. It’s like a whoosh of fearful adrenaline rushes through my body, and instead of being flooded with relief afterwards — as would make SENSE — all the molecules instantly rearrange themselves into a full-blown rage. What it is, I guess, is a frustrated sort of despair that gets more and more overwhelming as they get older: I CANNOT POSSIBLY BE RESPONSIBLE FOR KEEPING YOU ALIVE AT ALL TIMES. PLEASE DON’T PUT THIS ENTIRE BURDEN ON ME. Maybe it also feels a little like the ultimate parenting fail. I taught him to say thank you and I taught him to make his bed but godDAMN if I taught him a single lick of self-preservation.


24 Responses to “Near miss”

  1. Gigi on October 21st, 2013 4:49 pm

    I know that feeling – have felt it myself on multiple occasions. Have faith – eventually he’ll get it.

  2. Melissa h on October 21st, 2013 5:09 pm

    Wait he makes his bed? Color me impressed. And of course I’m so glad he’s ok!

  3. April on October 21st, 2013 5:42 pm

    This exact thing happened to me with my five year old in the Disney parking lot several weeks ago and it was the scariest thing in years. I couldn’t reach mine, so I yelped loudly and got the snot scared out of me. Somehow my husband got him and somehow the giant Escalade stopped in time but good grief, children take years off your life sometimes, don’t they?

  4. NancyB on October 21st, 2013 6:22 pm

    Oy! I hate to be “that person” but……oh just wait – it will get worse as they get older and should have even MORE common sense. And then they will say “I didn’t know!” And I shake my head and wonder “what the fu** did I just spend the last 16, 18, 23 years teaching him?”

  5. Anna on October 21st, 2013 6:22 pm

    I know this feeling, EXACTLY.

  6. Jenny on October 21st, 2013 7:09 pm

    I never really knew RAGE until my oldest became a 4 year old. Offspring bring the best and worst out of us parents constantly!

  7. Victoria on October 21st, 2013 9:19 pm

    Oh man. Hugs

  8. Christine on October 22nd, 2013 3:09 am

    I have felt EXACTLY the same way. I have to literally stop myself from screaming at them “WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?” Mine are 9 and 6 and I know accidents happen but JESUS H.! I never feel so incompetent as I do during those scary moments and I have to dig deep to not turn into my own (dysfunctional) mother. Hugs to you.

  9. Liz on October 22nd, 2013 7:17 am

    I once fell down a few steps of the escalator at the Sears Tower (now Willis Tower) in Chicago on vacation and after scurrying back up and joining my family, my grandma slapped me HARD on the back…because I scared her.

    So, I get it. Except I don’t. But I think will because I now have a 16 month old boy and I’m pretty sure he’s going to give me several heartattacks in my lifetime.

  10. Emma on October 22nd, 2013 7:44 am

    I think the anger is also self-preservation…like I’m so mad at myself for allowing myself to love my kids so much that if anything ever happened to them that I wouldn’t survive. But also I want them to remember my anger because maybe that will make them live longer than seeing my tears…if that makes a lick of sense.

  11. Nolita Morgan on October 22nd, 2013 8:56 am

    This happens to me all the time and I find myself muttering (sometimes not too quietly) for my kids to “Evolve already!”. Until my kids can demonstrate that they are thinking about safety (especially their OWN!)…they can expect a negative reaction from mom if I’m around. Until their Survivor Instinct kicks in, Mom’s Anger (with thumps or swats for good measure sometimes) will continue. I have an older daughter who HAS learned about self-preservation so I am hopeful that my son will soon catch on too… Don’t beat yourself up for this (save it for the kidlets). ;.)

  12. June on October 22nd, 2013 9:28 am

    I think this is part of our biology (evolution) as a species. The kid won’t remember or understand that s/he just avoided a potentially lethal event, but they sure as hell will remember your fury and subsequent smackdown (or in your case, the Vulcan nerve pinch).

    I got thoroughly spanked after crossing a busy street by myself as a 5-year-old. I remember the punishment well, and I sure as hell never crossed a street alone until… junior high or thereabouts. And see, I survived long enough to reproduce (genetic win), so I now have my own children to smack around after they commence with idiotic dangerous behavior. :b Ha ha, just kidding about the smacking. Mostly. I usually stick to screaming.

  13. Shawna on October 22nd, 2013 11:05 am

    Actually, I believe anger is a totally normal reaction after fear. From what I’ve seen, when people have a real scare like that the immediate aftermath is they either freak out with rage or break down into tears. I fall into the former camp.

    I haven’t seen any documentation on it, but I’ve never even questioned whether it’s normal or not.

  14. Melanie on October 22nd, 2013 11:31 am

    (I know that parents hate kid/pet comparisons, but it’s what I have, so here I go!)

    I think I’ve felt similar fear/anger with my dog and had an equally physical reaction. It has me almost convinced that I’m not fit for parenthood because if my dog pisses me off so badly, how can I possibly deal with tiny, occasionally stupid, humans?

    It’s a comfort to know that maybe I’m not completely alone, because despite this event, you seem to be a really amazing mother.

  15. christine on October 22nd, 2013 11:40 am

    This is me, every day. I feel like my kids think that they live inside an invisible force field.

  16. Janet on October 22nd, 2013 12:06 pm

    I may have told you this before but when my oldest was 3 years old we took her to a birthday party in the park. At this party, there were tons of balloons and she started chasing a particular one and ended up running out between two parked cars (before I could catch her) toward a very busy street. The only thing I could do was throw my (very heavy) purse at her…it knocked her off her feet. I had to do something in that split-second or she would have run right out in the street! I was pissed at myself for not having a closer eye on her and pissed that it happened at all because I really felt judged in that moment by all the other moms.

    The short of this story is that she’s 24 years old now and hasn’t yet been squished by a car…so I guess I did ok, and so will you. Someday you’ll look back and realize that you did a good job!

  17. Olivia on October 22nd, 2013 1:25 pm

    Ugh, yes! I find myself getting really irritated with my 4.5 yr old for just being clumsy. Come on, child! Pay attention to your surroundings! I’m all out of feeling sorry for you when you bump your head/toe/knee multiple times a day. I have no doubt that real danger would have me raging.

  18. H on October 22nd, 2013 2:14 pm

    When my 25 year old son made a huge mistake last May, I reacted with anger. I could have and probably should have been a hell of a lot more calm and refrained from throwing out worst case scenarios that could result from his mistake. I don’t know why we react like that. I think (and hope) it is more important that we recognize it and can address it when appropriate. Maybe that’s wishful thinking and the guilt talking, though.

  19. Ashleas on October 22nd, 2013 4:11 pm

    This is what really.. confuses me about children. Full disclosure, No children. I have never understood why.. baby foals walk and run within hours of being born and know full well not to hurl themselves off of cliffs. But human children? Would gladly hurl themselves off cliffs if we let them.

    The lack of self-preservation in children amaze me.. I know it’s not their fault, but seriously.. Evolution, God, Whatever? Slacking off in that department..

  20. Christie on October 22nd, 2013 5:47 pm

    YES! I think what is most infuriating is the fact that they generally seem totally fine and oblivious to the fact that they just cheated death (again), meanwhile we are having 70,000 heart attacks.

    And I’ve had to re-define “accident” for my son. If you’re doing everything you’re supposed to be doing, and something bad happens, it’s an accident. If you’re not paying attention/not being careful/not having even one clue as to what is happening in the world around you? Not an accident.

  21. Katie on October 23rd, 2013 11:38 am

    My younger son does this a lot. Or he stands too close to a curb when we are waiting to cross a street. And in those situations I get the kid is at “fault” but I try to always drive slow when I know areas are busy (parking lots) or crowded, esp. When kids are around.

  22. Emily on October 23rd, 2013 11:53 am

    Yeah, I got separated from my parents on the Boston Esplanade on the 4th of july. There were about a gazillion people there. it was dark. I think I was 10. My mom ripped me a new one and I just remember thinking, do you really think I did this on purpose? So I guess as a parent it’s a pretty normal reaction.

  23. Sara on October 23rd, 2013 11:53 am


    This. SO much. I feel this on a daily basis with my 3 & 5 year old girls. It is completely exhausting to try to keep two other humans alive all the time.

    And I also suffer what I have deemed small doses of post traumatic stress afterwards with the visuals of what could have happened.

  24. Kerilyn on October 31st, 2013 2:48 pm

    This is me, to a tee.

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