Gosh, I’m getting pretty lax about this whole blogging thing. Probably most have abandoned me by now. I’m here… just… distracted.
Anyway, Kate‘s weekly Madhouse has pulled me out of my quiet. Her topic this week is “the scariest moment” and the topic immediately reminded me of a very scary one of my own.
We’d only moved into our house here a few months earlier. Jake was a year and a half and mobile, Lane was four and constantly needing to bounce around. It was late November, and I decided to put up Christmas lights. The kids helped me as much as they could with stuff on railings and bushes, but then there is a white pine tree in the front of our house. It’s not super big — maybe 20 feet tall — so I thought it would be cool to deck it out in lights, maybe not all the way to the top but as high as I could manage with our aluminum ladder. I asked the kids to stay on the front stoop while I was doing it. Jake had some play cars to occupy him there, so he stayed put. Lane kept trying to wander closer, and I kept telling her to please, please, please not come over there.
In retrospect, I should never have done it when the kids were there at all. It nearly gives me palpitations every time I think about it.
I was done with the lights, and climbed down, and just needed to get the ladder down and put away. I didn’t notice Lane had wandered over when she saw me come down the ladder. I went to swing the ladder from vertical to horizontal, but it slipped out of my hands, and came crashing down, hard and fast. It hit the ground about eight feet away from Lane, who I didn’t even realize was right there until I’d nearly caved in her skull.
Brave girl, she didn’t even get startled by it. I, however, almost had a heart attack.
I think about that a lot. How different it could have turned out. It makes me sick with myself. But like all things parenting, it taught me such a good lesson about the things that just aren’t appropriate to try to do with small kids around. It taught me a fallibility, and a real feeling of caution that I bring to that sort of thing now; and granted I was never truly careless before, but I do take an extra moment to size up the environment with the kids and ask myself, “Now, what *could* go wrong, even if the chance of it is slim?” I know I can’t prevent every close call in the future, or even the occasional injury, but I’m sure going to try.