Saturday, August 17, 2013

the helmet

My new houseworker came into my office the other afternoon and said "Sorry I need to leave my husband called and my son needs to go to the doctor."  I'm a mom, so instant concern "need to go to a doctor" here means kid is pretty sick or hurt.  Turns out kid has had typhus several times and he's got a fever again so they figure best get him in to start the meds.   So in the scheme of things here - a big enough deal but not a SERIOUS deal.  Little like your kid getting strep in the states, inconvenient, need medicine but not looking  at hospitalization.  The next day houseworker apologized that she wasn't able to finish things yesterday.  She was trying to explain away what happens to all moms when the kid gets sick, hurt, unknown- we kind of loose our mind.  Its really not somethning we have a lot of control over.  They have to tell the moms to put the oxygen mask on themselves first for a reason. 

So we got @ a new bike this week.  He's way past outgrowing the old one and the bike we bought is about an inch too big.  We're pretty sure come a month from now it won't be.  I bought him a new helmet too.  In our neighborhood and in our corner of the world, no one wears a bike helmet.  Its been a 10 year campaign from the government to get people to wear helmets on motorbikes here and most still don't in the neighborhoods.  So my kid on his bike with a pretty fancy helmet is wierd.  Its another thing that marks him as an "other".  I feel bad about that.  I've kind of been wrestling with it, maybe he doesn't need to wear the helmet when he's riding in driveway.  I mean really, its the driveway.  Its fenced in.  Probably he is fine.  Probably the fussing about the helmet in the driveway is a bit much. 

Interject on all of this, my nieces.  My oldest niece lost a dear long time friend a week ago.  And you guessed it, a helmet could have/ would have/ should have made a difference.  I really know next to none of the situation besides the 15 yr old FUN kid was an avid skateboarder but not an avid helmet wearer.  Stupid accident.  Accident that could have happened a million different ways and kid suffered head injury and kid died.  Kid died.  Now that just isn't right.  In your head, kids don't die.  But they do.  And there are no words for that grief.  None. And that story plays out a million times all over the world, quite sadly.  But my poor nieces and these families. 

This week marks a year of walking a terrible walk in our family.  Pain I would throw myself in front of a bus to try to have avoided.  Pain that bears no real exterior scars but is just like walking around after having your chest cut out.  We're healing and we have been delivered and I am thankful. But there is NOTHING I wouldn't have done to prevent the pain.  Nothing.

So thinking about this family, and the pain and my family and the pain (and, of course you understand, my child is still here and theirs is not so we're really comparing apples to fish on the pain scale, i know that) my kid is wearing the helmet and he's lucky he's not wearing it to bed at night.
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