Sam is learning to walk right now. Sam is a busy, ornery little boy. Sam runs into, knocks over, crawls over, falls on, and bumps his head on just about every piece of furniture he sees. Sam has lots of bruises.
On christmas morning he pulled a wooden stool over on top of himself leaving him with a giant, bruised, goose-egg on his forehead. Later that day he was at my parents house and walked straight into the the piano, which left another prominent bruise on his face. A few days before he had fallen and busted his lip while playing at my parents house.
All of these incidents happened under the care and careful watch of his parents and grandparents. All who love him and take excellent care of him, and felt terrible about the situation. Sam... if he cried about each of these incidences was over it within seconds and on to his next battle no worse for the wear. But here I am, his loving mother--on Christmas, no less!--carting around my bruised and battered child.
We were at a resturaunt ordering some food, and Sam was waving and being friendly and our server asked how old he was.
"A year," I answered.
"Is he walking yet?" the server asked.
"Not, yet. He's trying... thats why he has all these bruises... " His face really was sad and pathetic looking. Poor battered child.
"Oh," said the server. "I just assumed you beat him."
And my heart dropped... because that server just confirmed my worst fears-- that people were looking on my child and judging me and assuming I was at best negligent, but maybe worse-- abusive. And I started to go into a full terror/rage/panic when I looked up at that server who chuckled and winked at me.
"I have an 18 month old at home. Walking is tough. He looks great." He said and left our table with a smile.
Deep breaths. He was joking.
Sometimes I forget that I am not the only one who has ever done this. Tons of parents have felt guilty about accidental bumps and bruises on their kids, and it doesn't make them a bad parent. It doesn't make me a bad parent. It makes me a parent. One of many out there who understand.