Thoughts and ruminations about being a working mom, raising two daughters, and being Italian … while trying to maintain my sanity and organized closets. (My husband’s laugh, red wine, and ironing make me happy.)
By Adria Giordano
When the girls were little, I broke a glass.
It slipped out of my hand and smashed onto the kitchen floor. It wasn’t a very big glass, just a normal sized water glass, but I remember shards flying everywhere and running to make sure they did not step one foot into the kitchen. Not an easy task with a 2- and 4-year-old, and I remember panicking thinking one of the girls would step on a piece of glass and cut their foot and having to run to the hospital. (Emergency room visits are a constant worry when one has toddlers).
As I yelled to my 4-year-old to stay in the dining room, I swept into “mommy action,” picking up my younger daughter swiftly and placing her on the rug in the dining room as well. The “safe place” where they would not step on any glass or get hurt.
Little did I know one of the shards made its way to the dining room.
After cleaning up the kitchen and putting away the vacuum cleaner, I retreated to the safe place to make sure the girls put on shoes just in case there was a piece I missed. That’s when I stepped on it. A small piece of glass, unseen by the naked eye, had somehow managed to wedge itself into a corner of the room, and yep, into my foot. And although I was wearing socks, it still managed to somehow get into my foot and cut me.
The girls saw the blood and immediately started crying. Pulling my sock off and wiping the minor blood off, I showed them it was not a big deal and mommy was okay.
This is what it has been like for the last 13 years. Wiping away tears, moving them to safe places, and protecting them from broken glass. And if I step on a piece of glass along the way, no big deal. I’m a mom and that’s what we do.
When are children are little this is SO MUCH EASIER. We don’t even give it a second thought. We will throw ourselves literally on glass if it means protecting our children from harm. But as they get older, it’s so much harder isn’t it? It’s like there are millions of ways for them to get hurt, and even more hidden shards along the way to adulthood.
I once told my husband if we can get both of our girls to their 18th birthday unharmed and unscathed then we have done our job. We made it as parents and can celebrate. But I know now this is not possible.
There was absolutely no way I could have even imagined all of the broken glass they could have encountered as they left childhood and moved into the pre-teen, now teen years. So many more pieces of glass along the way.
When they were toddlers keeping them safe was somehow much more manageable. I could at least SEE what could hurt them and try to protect them. As they have grown up and become more independent, it is nearly impossible to do this. Friendships, while helping them form a sense of identity and a deep connection to others, have left cuts along the way. Social media, while again connecting them to friendships and allowing them to create and explore the world outside of our family, led to more cuts.
This year alone has been so challenging: a global pandemic, human rights violations, and social injustices, to name a few. Finding out who they are is challenging enough at this age and can leave a permanent mark.
As parents, we want to protect our children. But we can’t. Not all of the time anyhow. We need to let them learn to protect themselves, and every once in a while, even stumble onto glass, pick themselves up and find their own way. It’s not something which has come easy to me. I would much rather scoop them up, place them in a safe place, and tell them everything is going to be okay.
The other day a glass fell off our counter onto the floor. Pieces of glass EVERYWHERE. I immediately panicked and began jumping into “mom mode.”
Before I knew what was happening, one of the girls grabbed our pup to make sure he didn’t walk into the area where glass was, while the other ran to get the broom to begin cleaning it up. As I stood there I realized I have given them something much more than a safe place. Giving them the ability to know what to do in an emergency or when facing danger is something even better.
There are invisible pieces of glass everywhere. My hope as they navigate into adulthood, is that they will always remember mom and dad as their “safe place” and how to avoid danger. And when they do hit bumps along the way (because I know they will) they will be able to pick themselves up, clean up their cuts. and find a way to go on …
Adria Giordano describes herself as a mom, wife, fundraiser, party planner, and blogger. She is a currently the director of development and communications for Chrysalis Center in Hartford, CT. She lives in West Hartford with her husband, two teenage daughters, mother-in-law, and mini goldendoodle puppy.