It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Baby Buoy

My son is now eighteen. He towers over me, his voice is deep, he needs to shave (least a couple of times a week). He has a job, he has a girlfriend. In short, he looks like a man. At eighteen, he thinks of himself as an adult, of course, and the laws of the land support him in that delusion. At 18, he has a ways to go just yet, really. But he’s on his way!

However, there was a time…

Cast your minds back with me. Back, back, back… Back to, oh, 1991 or ’92. Adam was just a baby. (So were some of you, I know. Which is why you come to me for Words of Wisdom.)

The four of us – me, the kids’ dad, Haley and Adam – we on holiday. We were in North Carolina, as it happens, on the beach. Frolicking in the waves.

It was early October. There were a smattering of people on the beach, most of them locals, in sweaters and jeans, looking askance at the lunatics in the water. We in the water dismissed them. “Pfft. Wusses. The water’s fine, once you get used to it!” (Which is what ALL Canadians say about water. We can’t help ourselves.) And then – hey! Didn’t another family – and then another – join us in the waves. HA. Think we’re nuts? We’re just trend-setters.

Course, when we got chatting, it turned out, that out there, frolicking in the “we’re used to it now” water? We were all Canadians.

Haley, who was about kindergarten age, was splashing around a few feet away. Her dad was in a chair, reading, further up the beach. I sat in the shallows, with baby Adam on my lap, laughing as the waves lapped over our toes. Then our ankles. Then our knees. Okay, so the tide was coming in, but slowly.

And wee Adam was having Such Fun!! He’d smack the waves as they broke over his pudgy knees, squealing in delight when the drops sprayed his face. Fun, fun, fun.

And then, our of nowhere, a HUGE wave rolled in and RIGHT OVER us. Right over.

It knocked me over backward, and lifted me up off the sand. All it would have taken, of course, was for me to have put down an arm, rolled over, and stood up. It wasn’t really that huge. The water wouldn’t have been much over my knees. Haley only giggled and ran, racing the wave to the sand – and won.

But I couldn’t DO that. I had my BABY on my lap. MY BABY!! The unthinking, irrational Mama Bear instinct kicked in, instantaneously. There was NO WAY ON EARTH I was going to – could possibly manage to – LET GO OF MY BABY.

No. I grabbed him by the waist and thrust him UP, out of the water, so he could breathe. Could I breathe? No, I could not. But that was NOT THE POINT.

MY BABY! was the point.

It must have looked weird from the beach: a baby, protruding from the waves, his fat little tummy facing the sky, held up by two rigid arms. And nothing else but ocean.

Then the wave receded, my butt hit the ground again, and I could sit up. And – gasp! – breathe. The whole thing lasted probably 5 seconds. Adam thought it was the greatest game yet.

I love my Inner Mama Bear.

Have you met yours yet? Do tell!

August 24, 2007 Posted by | holidays, my kids, parenting | 10 Comments