Do you remember the moment when you knew that Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy weren’t real? Some of you may still believe in them, but I’m talking about that edge of childhood. That place where you no longer feel fully invincible (yes teenagers go back to that place for a while but bear with me). Where sadness or meanness enters your life, a world where children are shot and killed in their own school. In a schoolroom where a mean kid leaves someone out, and won’t let them play the game with the other kids. Or the kid on the climbing wall with the harness on and ropes secured who freezes, can’t go any further, ‘cause they now fear the ropes might not hold?

That’s the edge I’m talking about. That is the place where you leave the complacency of childhood behind. The ability to play full heartedly not thinking about any consequences or things that could go wrong. An unawareness of evil and planes that fly into buildings, killing the passengers, and taking the buildings with them, do you remember that place? It’s one thing to comfort your child from the nightmare that there’s a monster under the bed. How do you tell them it will be OK, as you watch the horror struck faces of runners & spectators as severed limbs are attended, after two young brothers’ casually deposited gym bags of bombs at their victim’s feet?

I remember receiving a phone call from my son, hysterical as he listened to the reports of students gunned down on the Virginia Tech campus. What do I tell him, other than come home; maybe I can keep him safe? Or the call full of tears as my daughter melts down, stressed by life and things she can’t control. Or the way my stomach feels sucker punched, after learning that a mother in my son’s class called all the parents accusing him of being a bully, when it turns out it’s her son.


Yes, as a parent, as human being, as a woman, as a member of society, there is such a short period of time that I can protect my offspring from reality. And I didn’t believe in hovering and I did let them fall, having their share of skinned knees and bruised foreheads. Skin heals pretty fast in the scheme of things. Bruised egos and hurt souls, those are boo-boos that aren’t so easy to cure with a kiss and hug. Sometimes it hurts more to see them suffering than anything else.

But all of these things are part of the human story. Giving them the tools to cope with the harsh realities of this world that we live in, is the only thing I can do. I just hope they can protect their gentle egos and tender souls without closing off to the beauty. My worst fear is that they become bitter and ugly too. Because despite all the ugliness and hatred in the world, there’s still something sublime about the sound of a child’s laugh, the giggling cause by a dog’s lick, a high five when a good play is made, or an “I’m sorry I made a mistake” accompanied by a hug after harsh words.

There is a moment when they cross the line out of childhood innocence. There is also a moment when regardless of all the rest, they rise above and join those creating not destroying. I choose to be part of the 20 percent minority, I hope when they realize that there’s no fairy godmother, they choose to be aware, thoughtful and responsible for themselves. To join those of us who make choices, who do things, build things, and take their lives in their own hands, rather than depending on someone else to re-create the fairy tale of a world that we all once inhabited as small children.


8 thoughts on “Vulnerable

  1. This mothering stuff that we do, it’s hard stuff, right? I know that up until this last year, I’ve felt really confident about my skills as a mother. But um, this year? This year kicked me in the butt. Now I’ve got a kid going into high school, and I find myself wanting to hold on tighter than before. Crazy, huh? I didn’t see time whizzing by. I didn’t sense any urgency.

    Thanks for your kind words at my place today. We’re figuring it out.

    • mavmel says:

      just take it moment by moment. I hear you about the mothering just when you think you have the hang of it, a curve ball comes across your plate. I have a longer view of things with older kids and a younger one, that helps sometimes, perspective. it comes together and it falls apart, and comes together again. Be kind to yourself and thanks for reading 🙂 that one came right after two of my three kids fell apart, and the one that is mostly apart came together, go figure?!

      On Tue, Jul 23, 2013 at 5:23 PM, Maverick Mel

  2. I liked your post, very well written.

  3. mocadeaux says:

    Our toughest job as moms is helping our kids develop the skills they need to navigate life and then letting them go to do that. I remember when my daughter and her friends rode their bikes to school for the first time. I was crazy with worry. Why did I think yesterday that she wasn’t old enough to do this but today, suddenly, she is? Raising kids seems to be a long series of these “letting go” moments until they move out and move on with their own lives. Perhaps the one thing that mitigates that helpless feeling is knowing that you’ve given your kids the skills to cope with whatever life throws them and you can still be called upon for moral support.

    • mavmel says:

      I agree with all you have said. Funny got a call from my 22 yr old daughter Monday, “Mom I feel sick”. All she wanted was to hear my voice cause there was nothing else I could do from 6 hours away. Letting go moments, is a great way to express it. And they don’t stop when they move away!

  4. Hi MavMel — My kids are still pretty young so of course my husband and I still have the largest influence on their lives, but in a few years that won’t be true. What I try to remember is that, although I am the steward of their childhood, they are unique individuals with their own paths to forge in life and most of their journey will be beyond my control.

    • mavmel says:

      I can vouch for the “in a few years” having older kids out in the world and a younger one still at home. It’s that letting go thing that another person commented on, hard to do, but important. I’m enjoying your blogs Shannon, keep them coming!

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