Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Careful. Care ful. Full of care.

Careful is an interesting word. I find myself saying it to my daughter all the time. I don't say "be careful," I don't say "watch out," I say "Careful." The *be* is implied. At least I think it is.

If she stands up on the couch and is ready to jump, I say it.

If she tries to put the toy stethoscope in the dog's ears, I say it.
"Careful!" (And then I add a "Don't do that!")

If she reaches across the table for the serving spoon, I say it again.
"Careful, please."

Why is it that this word takes on so much meaning when you're a parent? This word, the one my mother uttered to me every time I left the house on my own, why does it mean so very much? I've said it so many times before to loved ones. To my husband, to my brother, even to my parents! I have said it to friends as we parted ways after a long night out. "Be careful," I'd say, as they walked off to the subway, or to catch a cab. And yet I knew that they would. I knew that they understood what I was saying. But with my daughter, it's totally different. She only knows so much. She understands what I mean, but not necessarily the meaning. She hears me say it so many times a day, and I wonder what goes through her head when she hears it?

Is she thinking, *Yes, Mom, I KNOW.* Could that be it, already? Is it at the young age of 2-1/2 that the child starts to roll their eyes at their parent? I swear I see her teenage eyes looking over at me now and again. So why wouldn't she be rolling them at me already?

Either way, no matter what she is thinking, I am prepared to say this to her for the rest of her life. When she heads out for the evening, when she meets a new boy, when she leaves home for the first time, when she takes her first trip with her friends, and pretty much for all of the firsts. I will tell her to throw caution to the wind, and to allow herself to experience new things, but, as her mother, I will encourage her to do so with caution and care. Carefully. Weighing all her options.

So I guess I'd better get used to the eye-rolling. I'm quite sure it's not going to let up any time soon, especially since I'm not planning to!

1 comment:

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