This post was inspired by the novel If I Fall, If I Die by Michael Christie, which tells the tale of a boy who, thanks to his mother’s agoraphobia, has never been outside his home. At the age of 11, he finally ventures outside and finds himself in the middle of a mystery. Join From Left to Write on January 22nd as we discuss If I Fall, If I Die. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.
The desire to protect your child from the outside world is innate. You don’t realize what a fierce beast you will become someday when a threat is merely imagined for your child, let alone imminent–when you consider how little control you have over how the world will have its way with him and all you can do is look on and hope you’re able to help pick up the pieces after.
It helps if you come from experience.
I see in my daughter much of me. My mom would be thrilled to know that her curses that promised a child just like me someday came to fruition. Our head-butting comes from too much common ground (and shared stubbornness). Her sorrows strike me right through the heart, for I know the pain she endures. And I cannot take it away.
Children are so cruel.
I felt a strong urge when she was a toddler to homeschool my daughter. To remove her from the pettiness and ensure a nurturing environment where she could thrive without fear of being trampled. The feeling was renewed and strengthened when my son joined the family. And then I learned that I was not made of the stuff that good stay-at-home moms are. I couldn’t do it. As much as I tried to shun the outside world–which had not been particularly kind to me at times, either–I needed it more than ever. I could not remain inside anymore.
I failed them.
But I didn’t. Because they will be a part of that outside world someday. There is no escaping that. And they would be ill-prepared for it living the sheltered hermit life I sometimes prefer. Their problems would be multiplied, not divided, by this scenario. And it would be all my fault.
I returned to the working world 3 years ago and I don’t look back with any regrets. We all needed this transition–this re-entry into the real world. And while it pains me to see my daughter take it straight to the heart when she is teased and tormented by her peers, I know that she will be stronger for it. That she will take those words hurled carelessly at her feet and transform them into art, music, poetry, beauty. That she will grow to understand how her actions impact others, and to be more cognizant of what she chooses to voice, as well. The most beautiful flowers need fertilizer to grow.
She will be alright. And I will be, too.
Kate | Food Babbles
What an eloquent and beautiful post! I can completely relate to the desire to shelter and protect your child from all the evils of the world. It’s heartbrekaing not to be able to. But like you said, they will make it through and be stronger for it. I definitely want to read this book too!
Carrie @ poet in the pantry
Thank you! I wasn’t sure about the book at first, but I really did enjoy it. It’s funny how you become a person you never thought you would be once you have a child. But we can’t keep them from everything!
Jennifer Wolfe (@mamawolfeto2)
Carrie, I was amazed by how this book made me think about my own parenting anxieties – especially since my daughter just moved out of state to go to college!
Carrie @ poet in the pantry
It’s funny what it stirs up in you! Your daughter would make me anxious, too–love that she’s pursuing her skiing dream and all, but having been hurt pretty badly while skiing, it scares me with my little ones just on our little ski hill here! I suppose it’s good for all of us… kids make us grow as they grow.
That seemed to be a resounding sentiment with all who read this book, whether or not they were doing all they could to protect their children. I have nothing against homeschooling but I think letting children learn how to deal with others, good and bad, in life is best for them. They are going to have to live with and compete for things in life with all, bullies and angels. But it is hard to watch them get their feelings hurt and watch others taunt or slight them.