Last month, after tromping around in some muddy strawberry fields, I found Rory in the bathroom cleaning his shoes. Kamryn tends to like to clean her shoes as well. I would always find her in the bathroom with a sink full of water and shoes floating around.
I never insisted that the kids have clean shoes and I don’t even recall ever telling them not to step in mud, but for some reason, having clean shoes is a must for my children. And then I remembered something.
I had a flashback of my own after seeing Rory cleaning his shoes. I recalled a time when I was about 6 or 7 and I was cleaning my own muddy shoes. I really liked cleaning my shoes. I preferred to let the mud dry and harden in the treads of my shoes and then chisel it out with a butter knife.
During this particular shoe de-mudding, I was scraping away when the knife slipped and I stabbed my left wrist. When I say “stabbed”, it was more like scraping off that top layer of skin. It didn’t even bleed, but I thought I was going to die.
Around this time I had heard about or seen something in a movie that had to do with someone slitting their wrists to kill themselves. I obviously didn’t understand the logistics of how one ended one’s life in that manner.
This is what I find really funny. I was sitting on the driveway, by myself. My mom was just inside – I could hear her in the kitchen, but I didn’t run in to tell her I thought I was going to die. I just sat there, glancing at the door, then back at my wrist. My adrenaline was pumping and I was close to crying. Nothing hurt, I was upset at the thought of my impending doom.
After about 5 minutes, I was still alive and I took that as a sign that I just may pull through this inadvertent suicide attempt. I continued chipping away at the dried mud on my shoes, careful to keep my left wrist well out of the vicinity of the butter knife.
Obviously, I don’t find suicide funny, but the mindset of a child. Kamryn will come up with bizarre things to be worried about and at times it can be exhausting trying to explain to her that she has nothing to be concerned about. Having a memory like this is a reminder that kids just don’t understand everything yet and while it seems like common sense to me, as an adult, my kids haven’t quite gotten to that point yet.