I, like the alert system at the airport, am always on threat level orange. I am always scanning—what needs to be done, what looks unsafe, is that helmet tight enough, those stairs might be slippery….
My son’s swim lessons are brutal for me. Because, he can swim—but in that way where ‘a little knowledge is a dangerous thing’—so he can he can head out, but if there is no destination—side of the pool, person or floaty thing, it looks like he’s just flailing out there.
The other day I ran to the side of the pool during a lesson yelling ‘Dylan!’ to alert the instructor that it seemed like the float island they were on was going to capsize. ‘You know,’ my husband said. ‘You are not the only one keeping him safe. It is not all up to you.’
It’s not? It’s not? Is that supposed to be a relief? It is not. This is worse news. I want it to be all up to me. Because then, if I just focus all my efforts, checking for sharp corners, calling out to go a little slower, throwing salt over my left shoulder for luck—then there is a chance that I can control this fast moving life and pad it so that nothing takes me by surprise.
I know I can’t live this way. I know that the entry pass into existence on this plane is for ‘all the rides’ but I want to keep calling out as my son runs by ‘Look where you’re going…stay where I can see you’ as he takes off into the world.