When my children were little I had a very good imagination. I tried to think of anything that could happen to them or that they might do so that I could protect them, ward off accidents, keep them from harm's way. Even so, we had our share of emergency trips to the hospital or a visit from a 911 van, and those were always for unforeseen, unimagined events I had not envisioned. I was always measuring, judging, estimating how far I could reach to catch someone in case of a fall, how close a pot handle was to the edge of a stove and whom to call if someone stuck beans up his nose.
Does anyone use that cautionary warning? The other one came from the only story my mother ever told: "Epaminondas, watch how you step in them pies."
When I started down the basement stairs with a load of laundry, and pregnant at that, I'd say to the girls (by that time four and three years old), "Tell me the number you'll call if I fall." I had taught them 911, you see, in case I wasn't able to use it.
I've been thinking of that recently as I have reached the age where accidents can happen and I am trying to be aware of prevention. I haven't gone so far as handles and bars all over the apartment but I have banned scatter rugs and I turn on lights instead of trusting myself to find my way in the dark. I think of how far boiling water might splash if I drop a pot of spaghetti, how hard I could land if I fall off a step ladder, and - my worst fear - what would stop me if I missed an escalator step. (I can't see them very well, it depends on how they are marked). Well, it's not fear yet, it's apprehension, well, more like caution.
I remember after Bill died how careful I was when driving. I knew that I had to take very good care of my children's only parent. At least I don't have to worry about that any more. They will survive very well without me.
Besides, I gave up my car.