Or, better said, earthquakes make me a better mom.
Sometimes when I’m sitting at home and Isa’s napping I want really badly to run to the corner store to grab something. Sometimes it’s a silly item like Cheesy Poofs. More often it’s something more urgent like toilet paper.
Our corner store is a half block from us. It takes 30 seconds to walk there and the same to walk back. There is never anyone in the store so it might take a minute to find what I need and pay for it. So we’re talking 2-3 minutes away from home, only a hundred yards away. There have been times when I’m so close to doing it (toilet paper) but I never have and you know why? Earthquakes. You never know when an earthquake will hit (and one will, eventually hit where I live) and
if when it happens I sure as hell can’t be 100 yards away from my baby buying cheesy poofs.
Of course there are other things that could happen. I wonder if a fire is more statistically probable than an earthquake? The truth is I have no idea. All I know is I never worry about fires or any other calamities. Maybe it’s because I KNOW an earthquake will hit, eventually; it’s always possible seismic activity that keeps me from doing that thing that seems almost okay, even though I know it’s really not.
Some risks I have to take. I cannot bring Isa to our building’s laundry room. It doubles as the storage room for the garbage receptacles (that’s right, the bins that holds disgusting, putrid garbage sit inches away from the machines that clean your clothes!) and it’s really gross and dirty. We’ve seen rats down there multiple times. So when I do laundry she stays inside in her childproofed playroom (or her crib if she’s sleeping). Our laundry room is about two apartments away and down a small flight of stairs. It’s not exactly close but there is nothing I can do. I have to go down there alone. And I think that the ground might shake every time I do.
There are also instances when I have to leave Isa in the car parked on the street while I load it up (or do the reverse). I only do this when it’s parked right in front of our house, but it still feels irresponsible, especially when I’m doubled parked in the street.
And don’t even get me started with how badly I sometimes want to leave her in the car while I run into the store to grab something really quick. It will only take a minute! She’ll be okay, right? Thank god for earthquakes and the fact that one will definitely hit San Francisco sometime (probably soon) or I’d probably be leaving my daughter in her car seat while I brave the line at the post office. (On a related note, does anything take longer, or more energy, than getting a child in and out of a car seat?!)
City living with a one year old can be difficult. I’m constantly trying to reconcile safety with necessity (and convenience). I have to confess, when I’m tired and the car is parked blocks away I really want to run and get it while Isa plays quietly, instead of lugging her and all our shit all the way to the car (or driving the car back, double parking and packing it up). I know I can’t go get the car without her, but there are times when I really, really want to. I know I can’t do it though, because anything could happen at any time. I know I can’t do it because I’m her mother and it’s my number one responsibility to protect my little girl.
I know I can’t do it because at any minute, without any warning, there could be an earthquake. And my little one year old has not yet learned about the triangle of life, so I better be there to help her find it when the ceiling starts caving in.
There are so many other questionable/irresponsible things I do as a mom, like giving Isa items that have fallen on to the floor (after half-heartedly brushing them off, of course) and forgetting to brush her teeth in the mornings; reheating milk that has been out for over an hour; frequently forgetting to disinfecting her hands before we eat when we’re out; giving her a bath in a tub with pink flora growing around the rim (and then running into her room to grab a washcloth real quick) – you know, horrible things that no mother should do, let alone admit doing. Too bad earthquakes can’t instill in me the fear of all wrong that could befall us ever. If they could I’d be the world’s most perfect mom!
What fears keep you honest?