December 11, 2010

You can't be too careful...

When we first brought our son Scott home from the hospital, after he was born two months early and had a month-long stay in the neonatal intensive care unit, we were diligent guards of his delicate immune system.  He came home at only about five pounds, and that was after waiting for him to be “big” enough to safely live at home with us.  We didn’t allow any visitors other than family for the first month he was home, and every person who held him had to sanitize their hands just as we had been required to while he was in the hospital.  We didn’t take him anywhere in public until he was strong enough to withstand the germs.  We saw to his every need and protected him from every potential threat.
With the same thorough care we brought home two little sweet baby boys almost six years later.  They too were early, though only by one month, with about a two-week hospital stay (10 days for Zach, 13 for Daniel.)  They too were small and weak, and needed our protection.  With the same standards we had set in place for Scott, we cared for them and protected their health and well-being without regard for what anyone else thought of us.
Two years later, along came full-term Audra, and though she weighed in at 8 pounds 9 ounces, a three and a half pound increase over the previous record-holder for birth size, all five of us watched over her like hawks.
Most parents are protective of their children.  Most go to great lengths to keep them healthy, safe, and secure.  But Joe and I are just shy of neurotic about it, for which we refuse to apologize.  We don’t just protect them against illness, of course.  It’s a wicked world out there, filled with people who would potentially do them harm, and we do everything in our power to protect them from that.  We’re security freaks.  Locked doors, not leaving them in the car alone, holding hands in every parking lot with each one but the fourteen-year-old, taking a head count on a constant basis when in stores, cyber-security, and the list goes on.  Short of hiring big burly body guards, we protect our children like they were internationally-known celebrities.
You might argue that having a public blog isn’t the most secure thing to do, but if you’ve been reading this blog, you’ll note that I’m not specific about our location, our plans, or really anything that might give some creepy unwanted reader too much information.  Those of you who know me may know all those sorts of things about us, but I don’t publish them (and I’ll kindly thank you not to also.)  I’m aware that anybody can see this website, though also aware that very few would want to!  Just the same, our children’s safety and well-being is our top priority, and I’m careful in telling you about them to not tell you more than you should know.
I don’t know if Joe and I were just already wired to be this way before we became parents.  Most parents love their kids more than their own lives, and would do anything to protect them. We’re no different and don’t claim to love our children more than other people love theirs.  But we have been accused by friends over the years of being too extreme in our protection of our kids.  To be blunt, I don’t really care what they think.  And as someone who cares a lot about what others think of me in most situations, that’s a bold statement on my part.
I believe a significant factor in our hyper-secure approach to childcare is all the loss we’ve suffered, both as first-time parents with our twins Alison and Paul, and recently with our sweet baby whom we will not know until we’re reunited in heaven.  Whatever the reasons, we feel strongly that every child of ours deserves excellent care and protection and to be guarded against any threat.  The Lord in His sovereign wisdom chose to take three of our children to be with Him, and they enjoy a perfect security there that we could never provide.  But with the four He chose to leave in our care, we will go to any lengths necessary to give them whatever security we can provide.
Someday when they’re all grown up we may have to apologize to them for being over-protective, but I’d rather have that to do than to apologize for not taking good enough care of them.  So we’ll continue to monitor their every move as well as those of the people with whom they come in contact.  I’ll continue to be vague here on my little blog about the revealing information you simply don’t need to know.  And I’ll keep holding their hands until I decide they don’t need me to anymore.  And with all due respect to you, dear reader, I don’t really care what you think of that.

1 comment:

  1. Right on Laura!!!! I LOVE this post. Nick and I are the same exact way. Both times we brought our children home from the hospital we were the same way and unfortunately we had our relatives who would not follow our requests for hand washing and other health issues so we kept our distance. We have been called over protective and I have heard one or two stupid remarks from fellow moms who choose to raise their children differently. I don't care and find their judgment of our choices to be arrogant and designed to make themselves feel better about their choices. Either way I don't care about what anyone else thinks either! I hold my sons hand in stores and squeeze him close to me while pushing the stroller w/ my other child. I have no free hands and I ask clerks for help because I refuse to let go of either child for a minute. If I could put them both in a double stroller and seat belt them in I would but one is too big so I glue myself to him. I could care less what anyone thinks. I could not agree w/ your sentiments more. If they complain as adults that we were too protective, fine that's a complaint I am glad to accept. I like how you own it all and state your feelings so strongly! I am also sorry for your losses. Thanks for your post Laura. It's empowering.