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The Wilder Life: October 2016

10/04/2016 07:00AM ● Published by Robert Frey

By Amanda Jean Elliott

It was an unreasonably warm September morning and I was contorted half on the street and partially on the curb with my arm down a storm drain. “Do NOT let a car hit me! Are you watching for cars?”

I looked up and my son was not watching for cars. He was intently trying to spot his shiny new red Fire and Rescue helicopter currently trapped in our storm drain. The one with the hook for rescuing all the things in our house for the last 24 hours. He loved it so very much.

It was like a movie in slow motion when the little red rescue chopper skidded across the concrete and into the pitch-black abyss of our drain. And then in that same slow motion my son inverted almost entirely his bottom lip. And it started to quiver.

“Do not fold up on me!”

“It’s just gone forever …”

And then I knew in that moment that I was going to stick my arm down the storm drain. 

I’m not afraid to let me son cry. I’m not even afraid to be the cause of those tears. I’m not afraid of him facing the natural consequences of his choices. Maybe some people would think: Hey, you drop things and you can’t always get them back. Move on.

But, not that day. The world will naturally teach him all the lessons about loss. 

On this day I wanted to teach him a lesson about doing the messy and inconvenient thing for the people you love. About the worth of retrieving rather than replacing. The value of the rescue rather than just leaving it be. 

Motherhood is made up of huge milestones we believe will make or break our children. But, the truth is that we shape their character, their understanding about how we approach life and how we tackle problems a million times in a million little ways over the years through the seemingly minor moments, looks and lessons that often come by accident when no one is looking except for them.

And as for the shiny little red rescue chopper? Thanks to Wilder’s idea to bring along his long plastic shovel and my idea to use the “grabber” tool, we were victorious in our recovery efforts.

I see now even if we hadn’t managed to fish out his new toy, I could consider it a win because life is about showing up and doing the hard thing for the people we love. It’s about contorted mommas with arms in storm drains and little boys who know they are worth all the messy moments this world can ever offer.  

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