I panicked. I’ll admit it. It’s not my style to say no so abruptly. I don’t raise my voice with my kids. But I panicked, seeing danger, and I was absolutely terrified.
My toddler had wandered over to the Please Touch room at the Nature Center, and I could see the germs hiding, ready to pounce on his chubby little fingers the second he walked in and grabbed the books, the puzzles, the microscope. The stuffed animals and puppets lurked in a basket o’ filth on the floor, baring their teeth at me (and only me). I knew how this would end, and in that second, I flushed, drenched in fear, visions of ER visits flashing at me in some sixth sense, not quite right, and yet more pressing than the reality: A toddler, walking into a room of toys that other children had played with. A preschooler behind him. A healthy mom two steps behind them … and I knew I should let them go.
I relaxed, relented, and said, “Go ahead, kids. It’s okay.” Because now, it is okay. I’m healthy again, and my immune system is healthy enough to fight most germs (although it is still quite suppressed, and we do avoid unnecessary germs and wash hands religiously around here). A cold won’t send me to the ER this year (it would have been disaster last year, during chemo). It won’t. I’m okay. I have to remember that.
Because this afternoon, at the Nature Center, I forgot … but I am well again, and the children can play.