WHAT WOULD RALUCA DO IS A COLLECTION OF ESSAYS, MUSINGS AND ADVICE ON MODERN-DAY MOTHERHOOD BY RALUCA STATE, THE CREATOR OF WHAT WOULD GWYNETH DO.

The corner of my eye

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The ball keeps bouncing against the heavy garage door.

Thud, thud, thud.

A rhythmic lull that marks the sign of boyhood. Of my young son and his passion for baseball. His passion for the game and practicing his pitch.

And his catch.

And his curve ball.

A car edges its way down the quiet road. I yell to him to stop his motion, to pause for safety. And he does, looking at the car as it creeps past him, waiting for the all clear to begin again.

Thud, thud, thud.

“Watch this, mama!” he beckons. “Watch how fast I can throw. Watch how I can catch this ground ball. Look again, mama!!”

Thud, thud, thud.

“Look now, mama!” he insists once more. 

I glance back up from my book, the corner of my eye on another car approaching from down the street. You’re going too fast, I whisper to myself. You’re going too fast, I think urgently.

I yell back to my son, missing his latest throw. “Pause!” 

Our signal to stop all ball throwing because a car is coming and my mama brain will instantly fast forward to his ball rolling into the street, two skinny little legs running towards it without a glance to the left or right and my whole life changing in an instant.

Pause, I plead silently.

They say that once you become a mother it’s like your heart is walking around outside of your body. And that’s true. But they don’t say what it does to the corner of your eye. How it’s always looking two steps forward and two steps behind at the same time. How it can see the car coming before it’s even that close, sensing its speed and direction. How it can pick out the one grown up behaving oddly at the park or playground from across the way, keeping them – and all the kids around them - in your steady sight. Just in case. How it can spot a child who looks sad or afraid or lost in a crowd and zero in on them in an instant. How it can see the staircase before it causes the fall and know to throw out a warning without a second thought.

How it’s always watching. Two steps forward. Two steps behind. Protecting that heart as it walks through this world.  

The car drove by and did a u-turn to head in the other direction. Wrong street, it turns out. Still going a little too fast.

The ball hit the garage door again. Thud, thud, thud.

My eyes watched my boy’s next pitch. The ground ball catch. The wind up.

And then it fell back to its place in my book.

But out of the corner of my eye, his world was still in my sights. Not just the throw, but everything around it. Always.

Best friends for(n)ever

A right turn