Devil May Care

My father in law has said many a wise, witty and memorable thing in his day, but one of my favorite Carl Nord statements of all time is this: “Sarah, what you need to understand about Christian is that he has a ‘devil may care’ attitude with his physical wellbeing.” This particular comment was in reference to Christian and his college buddies sneaking out onto the roof of a Denver hotel and hanging over the edge. But Carl could have been talking about any number of my husband’s antics: the swimming with sharks, flying over mountain bike handlebars, running in unsavory parts of town, adventure racing, etc., etc.

When we had our first son, I braced myself for a life of motherly psychosis, figuring he’d be just like his dad with the daredevil stuff. To my great relief, though, Wyatt seems to be pretty cautious with his body. He has no need for speed and sticks fairly close to his people. Granted, he’s only four, and this could all change at a moment’s notice. But for now, my blood pressure remains at a healthy level when it comes to Wyatt and his physical welfare.

But not so fast Momma Bear. Enter stage left: Graham Henry, the most reckless child who ever stepped foot on the planet. My party baby, born on New Year’s Eve. At only 20 months now, Graham has me in an absolute state of panic with his incessant climbing, furniture jumping, flipping off the couch, disappearing acts, sticking sharp objects into power outlets, etc., etc. This kid is a regular Phineas and Ferb. (Great show, by the way.)

It must also be said, though, that Graham is as sweet as he could possibly be. As I said in his birthday tribute back in January, he smiles with his whole body and has the best belly laugh in creation. So why would this otherwise wonderful child plague his mother’s heart out with his unruliness? The answer is simple: he’s just like his dad.

Wyatt is Christian’s clone—a “mini-me” like you’ve never seen before. But Graham has Christian’s spirit of adventure. That “devil may care attitude with his physical wellbeing.” As a result, I expect that Graham will live his life to the absolute fullest, with plenty of travelling, sky diving, running with the bulls, and yes…even swimming with the sharks. Wyatt will perhaps take a more cautious route through life, though I hope he’ll enjoy the journey every bit as much—just in his own way.

As for me? I’ll find a good blood pressure medication, a yoga master and a glass of red wine. And I’ll learn the fine art of pretending that THIS IS NOT HAPPENING―a survival skill that so many mothers before me have mastered.

— Sarah

I guess it’s human nature to want to hold you very still
I guess it’s in a mother to inject a little guilt
Go on son and see the world; I hope you see it all
But please please please don’t forget to call

…Go on son and spread your wings; I hope that you take flight
But please please please don’t forget to write

― Sara Groves, “Small Piece of You” from the album Station Wagon Songs for Parents