When Quinn is sleeping, I check to see if she's breathing. I realize this is normal procedure for parents, especially new ones. Most of the time, I can't see if she's breathing by looking, so I have to put my hand on her belly, which sometimes causes her to stir, but the risk of interrupting her sleep gives me some temporary peace of mind. I wonder sometimes if this is the beginning of the slippery slope that leads to "helicopter parenting", where you are so over involved with everything your child does that they can't function on their own. Of course, I don't want this, but on the other hand, I do. I want her to be safe, always, in everything, and somehow becoming a mother has convinced part of my brain that I can accomplish this (the wild illusion of control, another neat feature of parenthood). The logical part of my brain knows this is not true. I cannot control the universe, therefore I cannot control everything that happens to Quinn. Not a darn thing in this life is guaranteed. We forget this, I think part of us needs to in order to function normally, but when you are going through a loss such as my family is experiencing with the loss of my niece Ellie, you are reminded, somewhat harshly, of the uncertainty of the next moment. That, I believe, can manifest itself in a couple of different extremes. Some people might say "screw it, tomorrow may never come" and take up sky diving and bungee jumping and other things that bring you to the brink. Others might go the other way and become anxiety ridden over the dangers of everyday life. In terms of parenting, it might make you become extremely overprotective. And then you would tell yourself, and your kid (when they become old enough to complain about the overprotective-ness) that it is only because you love them that you oversee/obsess about every aspect of their day. Really, I'm just talking to myself here. What I'm trying to say to myself is "You can't control everything. Be reasonable. Crazy $#@! happens, whether you obsess about it or you don't. And if, for some reason, you or she leaves this earth in an untimely fashion, she will know that you love her more than EVERYTHING because you have given her billions of kisses and hugs, made up hundreds of silly lyrics with her name in it, read her countless stories, answered her cries with a comforting hand and told her you love her so much, she thinks its part of her name".
That is the best I can do. And despite my best efforts NOT to be overbearingly protective, I'm sure there will be moments when she says "MO-om, come ON, you're acting CRAZY, I'm the ONLY 10 year old I know with TRAINING WHEELS...ON MY BIG WHEEL!!! And in those moments, I'll take a deep breath, try and let go, and pray to God that she remembers the silly songs and the kisses and hugs <3