February 6, 2010

Another Reason to Become a Hermit

Jason is in Australia, and I braved an outing with James, 2, and Stella, 1, to the Mall of Georgia. Surprising uneventful. I even managed to buy some jeans, and have the right side of my hair accosted by one of those straigtening-iron people at a booth in the middle of the walkway. (Why, oh why, do not ask me.)

The weird thing is that I wore my sneakers to the mall. I never do that. I find it fashionably offensive (even though my ugly black clogs are usually no better). But today I wore my sneakers, and now I know why.

I was feeling pretty good on the drive home, feeling like a good mother who managed to take the circus on the road, and feed the kids a reasonably healthy lunch. I was patting myself on the back as I pull into the driveway, and let James out of the car. Holding his hand, I walk him around the other side to get Stella. I pin him between my knees as I pick her up. But as I close the door, and reach for his hand, he takes off running.

Our house has a reasonably steep, but short hill towards the left front, the bottom of which leads to a small creek recently filled and rushing from the heavy rains. James was making a mad dash for it. Holding Stella, I run after him screaming, "No! James, nooo!" At this point during any typical mad dash for anything, he usually turns around and gives me some you-know-what-eating grin, testing me...but he always stops or comes back. Today, he didn't stop. He didn't even turn around.

With Stella in my arms, I take off running, thanking God that I'd been on the treadmill twice this week, and for giving me the strange intuition to wear my Nikes to the mall. I am so close to grabbing him, but I clearly see I'm not going to make it. I scream No! in a panicked voice, which I can still seriously hear ringing in my ears, and without stopping, he runs slap off the edge of the hill and disappears.

For a milli-split second, my mind must've thought: drop Stella, hope she doesn't follow and go for James? run Stella to the grass, and then go back for James? or just tuck and tumble immediately, and go?

It must have only been a second pause, but I opt for tuck and tumble. I pull Stella into my chest and we both head sideways, rolling down the hill after James. Seconds before I reach him, I see him land at the bottom of the hill, three feet from the rushing water. Luckily, he was pretty stunned, and didn't venture any further. When I reach him, I grab his foot and yank him to me, and we were all safe.

Covered in mud and leaves, I sit in the wet grass covering both babies for what seemed like ten minutes. James is sobbing, Stella looks like she might have actually enjoyed the adventure, and I am am shaking beyond words. What in the hell just happened? This could have been so much worse. If I'd had been wearing my crappy non-running shoes... if he had run for the street....if he'd rolled three feet further. I was not even slightly careless... I wasn't texting or talking on the phone, I was pinning my son between my knees and pulling his sister out of her carseat, and in process of reaching for his hand to go into the house. Just run-of-the-mill careful parenting, and my son could have ended up in a creek.

As if I needed another reason to become a hermit...


becky said...

Oh girl, what a story! So happy that you three are safe. Way to be a super-mama, for real. Take care.

Meredith said...

Thanks dear.... No one ever said it would be this much "fun", did they?