accepting risks

by Bella Rum


After learning my son was in the World Trade Center on business on 9/10/01, I remember having that hair-raising sensory experience that tells us we’ve escaped something horrible through no clever actions of our own. Just dumb luck.

My son runs marathons, but he did not run in Boston last week. Could it be an entire week? For a while now, I’ve had concerns about him  running marathons. Nothing to do with bombs. Even the most paranoid mother couldn’t conjure such a risk. My concerns were more along the lines of health. My cardiologist’s physician’s assistant told me that marathons are horrible for the body – dehydration, joints, injuries, etc. and if there’s a history of heart issues in your family… Well, you see where I’m going. I’ve mentioned this to him , but he pretty much ignores me… politely. I raised him to politely ignore me. I sent him a text from H’s phone because mine was somewhere else.

no more marathons for you, mister

is this you, mom

how did you know

it was the mister

No respect, I tell you. He knew it was me because I’ve never been rational about his well-being. Sometimes I think the definition of motherhood is co-dependency. It’s almost laughable that a mother thinks she can keep her child safe by preventing him from participating in any particular activity.  I’m sure we’re made that way to ensure the continuation of the human race, and who am I to mess with that?

H loves him as much as I do, but he feels pride (instead of fear) in his adventure seeking and risk taking. This is the same kid who wanted to bungee jump when he was in college.  I warned him he could never do that while I was still paying his bills. Very original, don’t you think? On spring break, he came home wearing a t-shirt that boasted, “I survived bungee jumping.” H thought it was funny. I did not see the humor in it.

There will always be risks, and we cannot protect ourselves from every eventuality. Almost before the dust settled, they told us we must accept the risks of the times in which we live and carry on, to dust ourselves off and get on with life. That is the truth of it. We must. We absolutely must, and even if we didn’t want to, it is the nature of the spirit. It keeps going even when everything else is suspended in time. It keeps us going until a better day arrives. Of course, that kind of thinking is easier to achieve if you’re not one who absorbed the greatest loss.