Image via Wikipedia
We had lots of drama and trauma this morning. All before 7:30 in the morning.
Driving to school these days, Big Girl sits in the front seat. She is very proud of the fact that she is now big enough to legally sit there and likes to be “in charge” of the radio and environmental controls wherever we go.
This morning, however, I was wishing she was still in the back seat.
We were driving down a stretch of road that, for our rural area, is fairly busy in the mornings with commuters and mommies headed to school carpool lines. There was a car in front of us and we were cruising along when out of nowhere a raccoon dashed out of the tall grass on the side of the road and in front of the car in front of us.
I quickly told Big Girl “don’t look, don’t look,” but I think it was too late.
The poor raccoon was rolled under the car as the driver was traveling too fast to stop and to swerve to avoid the creature would’ve surely meant a wreck.
It was the first time she’s ever seen anything like that. Understandably, she was very traumatized. (hysterical is a more accurate description, actually)
My poor baby.
How do you explain to a child those split-second decisions you make where you choose the safety of yourself and, most likely, the children riding in the car with you, over saving a creature’s life? She is such an animal fanatic that all she could think about was the poor animal dying and that the person had not even swerved or slowed down.
As a driver (and a mom) I can only imagine what went through that driver’s mind in the milliseconds before they hit the raccoon.
I hate that she had to see that. I hate that a little bit her innocence was taken away today.
I know it’s part of life. I know that she is going to see things and experience things that I will want to shield her from – and that seeing a raccoon get hit by a car is probably one of the milder things. (although I hope and pray not)
Big Girl is also dealing with some new realities this year at school. Fourth grade involves a lot more responsibilities (and less hand-holding) than last year – they actually change classes! And, she is dealing with the realization that some friends are not “forever friends” but more friends of a season – and that it’s ok that people move on to find other friends.
I hate knowing that I can’t wrap that protective bubble around my babies anymore. I want to keep them safe in the cocoon of mommy’s protection and shield them from anything negative or harmful. Unfortunately, life is not that way. Kids grow up, expand their horizons and experience new things – not all of them good.
Watching her deal with these things is hard. I want to swoop in and fix everything – make it all better and sunshine and roses for her. But, I know I can’t. I know she has to work through some of this on her own.
And I know that my job now is to be there to support and guide her as she learns how to deal with these things – as a big girl, not a little one.
But I still wish I could pull her into my lap and keep her there, safe, forever.