A story about a bead.
"Everything is fine now, you should know that up front." Honey Bear said over the phone.
Honey Bear doesn't often call me at work without texting me first, so when I missed a call from him while on a work call with a Stage Five Blabber, I admit I panicked a little. I text him right back explaining the hostage situation I was in, and he responded with, no big deal, I just have a funny story I want to tell you before I forget. Ok, no big deal. I relaxed into my work call in spite of the fact that I barely got a word in to wrap it up, and listened for forty more minutes with the requisite mmhmms and oh yeah!s, more excited than worried to hear the funny story my husband was going to tell.
But when I finally got the chance to call him back, Honey Bear immediately gave me the everything is fine now line, knowing my propensity to panic and hoping to relieve me of any worry before telling the story. Naturally, I panicked a little more. If there is any virtue I hold onto more strongly than the others as a mom, it is internal panic. My heart starts beating faster, I feel the blood draining from my face, all my senses are on high alert, and the air suddenly feels thinner. The older I get, the more I find myself in this state about the smallest things, and if there is anything I can say about myself up front, it is that I am a Stage Five Worrier.
Of course, I held any expressions of worry and lecture to myself, at least until my husband finished his story.
My husband, whom I'll affectionately call Honey Bear, was working in his home office when our youngest child, Love, came up to him calmly, cocked her head, and said, "Uh dad? I tink I have someting stuck up my nose." You can picture me getting sweaty and gulping at this point. My husband is a work-from-home freelancer who stays home with our almost-four year old daughter and our two school-aged children while I work a standard corporate job. I have been wanting to stay at home with my children for a while, but that is surely another telling for another time. Thankfully my husband is at home now, saving us the cost of childcare while keeping our youngest at home to be a kid, and that is immeasurably valuable to me. But as it goes sometimes with a parent at home to simultaneously earn a living and be the primary caretaker, stuff happens. Sometimes daddy is working while Love is sticking things up her nose.
My husband went on to tell the story, chuckling as he went, how he looked up her nose found that yes, there was a little round bead up there, thankfully too big to get too high up. Love kept wanting to put her finger up there to retrieve it, but thankfully Honey Bear discouraged her from doing so. Eventually she blew the bead out with the force of her little four year old lungs, all was righted. Everything is fine now.
He made sure to point out to me that he talked to her about two points, 1. that she should never again put anything up her nose again under any circumstances; and 2. that she did the absolute right thing coming to tell daddy that something was wrong instead of trying to fix it herself. He focused on the praise she deserved in that instance, because if there is anything we should be teaching our kids, it is to NOT PANIC and get help. And. Well. He is right. Panicking doesn't do anyone any good, whether you are a four year old with a foreign object up your nose, or a mother who's greatest virtue is worry.
Eventually my heart settled, recognizing that the deep desire to be at home with my kids is in part fueled by the worry I have found myself being comfortable with so often. If I am being completely honest, there is a desire to hover and ensure their safety constantly, but, I suppose they cannot learn to deal with things if they don't occasionally find themselves in a precarious situation like having a bead stuck up their nose. The safeguard was there in my husband, and so was the learning lesson that came as a result of him not being the helicopter parent I tend to be.