From Tami: Safety Gear

Teenager girl with rollers
One problem with having preteens and young teens is that coolness trumps all. I find that this gets better as they get a bit older, but for a few specific years, if it isn’t cool, it isn’t happening.

Which is a problem, when safety is at stake.

It can get frustrating even when nothing is at stake—this slavish obligation to coolness—but once safety gets involved, it’s a whole ‘nother ballgame.

I am speaking, if you are lucky enough to not have this problem, of protective athletic gear. Helmets. Kneepads. Wrist guards. Who cares if they keep us safe? We are invincible, and those are ugly. They’re dorky. Skateboarding is cool; skateboarding while completely padded is not.

Of course, they will rarely admit to it outright. Instead, the pads an uncomfortable. They’re itchy. They’re hot. They don’t even fit correctly anymore. They actually make it more likely that they will get hurt, because the pads throw off their stance. The helmet gets in their eyes. They haven’t fallen in years, so why do they need them? It’s not like they are going too fast. Or far. Plus, one time, one of their friends’ cousins was in a bike accident with a car and he was okay, but the doctors said that he was lucky he skipped wearing his helmet because, the way he was thrown would have shattered the helmet into his skull, and so see? Helmets are dangerous just as often as they are protective!

Strength. I need some.

Wine, too.

We have had a number of bruises and cuts from bike riding, a broken wrist from riding scooters, and a broken arm, stitches, and concussion from skateboarding. Each kid who falls joins the chorus, preaching of the importance of protective gear. Age brings wisdom as well, so by now I have (only!) two or three who I routinely have to force to wear helmets.

It’s scary, watching your child resist something that you know will protect them. It is frightening to watch your child behave recklessly. We do all we can to protect them, but sometimes, when we turn our backs, they refuse to be protected. We can make them wear helmets when they start their bike ride from our houses, but what if they go biking with their friends? All we can do is watch them, teach them, guide them, and hope that they figure it out sooner rather than later.

We can only do so much. We can only be in one place at a time. We can only raise our children to the best of our abilities, no better.

But that’s okay. Accepting the things we cannot change makes us work harder to change the things we can. You are doing everything that you can to be the best parent you can be.

And that’s why you’re a SuperMom.


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