Monday, April 20, 2009

A Mother's Nightmare

This is hard to write. Even though the incident is a few days old...I get sick to my stomach recalling this.

My daughter Israel (or Izzy as everyone calls her) is 17 months old. She's a very happy, bright and mischievious little girl. She loves her stuffed monkey Saint George, she loves throwing things into the tub and she occasionally likes to snack on toilet paper.

I love her with an intensity that I didn't think humanly possible. I have always been a free spirit as so many people remember me. I was the sort of girl to take the next train out of town to chase love half way across the country, and once, to another continent. I didn't think twice about leaving in the middle of the night with a note and maybe a stray sock left in my wake.

Everything I ever looked for, I found in this beautiful little girl who loves me...and choses me before anything else. When she's hurt--she wants mommy. When she's happy--she wants mommy. The first thing she wants to see when she wakes up is mommy. And the last thing she wants to see when she goes to sleep guessed it...mommy.

Saturday was a warm, beautiful day. I felt like dressing her in all pink and take her outside to enjoy the weather. We walked downtown with her kicking her feet happily in her stroller. We passed a few people that knew her and she got a free bag of potato chips from a friend (she's always getting free stuff from sheer cuteness alone). She's eating her chips happily and we arrive at this church that serves lunch and has little things for the children the last two Saturdays of every mont.

So we get there and it's not yet open and a few people are hanging around back. I take Izzy out of her stroller and she's running around greeting everyone with either "Hi!" or "Baby?".

It happened in a split second.

Her uncle picked her up and began tossing her in the air and she's just cracking up. But something didn't feel right so I said "You know Gotti (his nickname) that's enough. I don't want you to drop her."

"Oh stop worrying so much...I'm not going to drop her."

He dropped her.

She landed on her forehead, smacking against the concrete. My 1 year old little baby girl.

I screamed. The crowd gasped and everyone rushed to her. I scooped her up but I don't remember moving. I don't remember walking. I don't remember anything but my baby screaming.

I'm calm.

I don't know how I'm calm. I don't know how I'm breathing. I don't know how I'm able to rock her and kiss her and tell her it's okay...but I do. She screamed "Mommy! Mommy."

I'm crying as I write this. I'm crying even though she is PERFECTLY fine and all she had from it was a nice sized little lump and a few scratches.

We call 9-1-1 and she's still screaming...but mostly because they won't let me hold her. They have to strap her in and check her. She was afraid, in pain and angry. She slapped the EMS dude, yanked supplies from the shelf. She screamed so hard that she nearly drowned out the sirens.

Gotti, meanwhile is on the steps crying like a baby (so I was told). Before I left, he begged me to let him hold her. I wanted to kill him. I knew it was an accident but I wanted to kill him. But I was calm and just walked away cradling my daughter.

In the end...she was fine. We weren't there at the ER for more than an hour. She slept. Woke up as the doctor examined her...we read a book...she started laughing and walking through the halls. She was fine. By the time we got back to her grandmother's house, save for the lump on her head, you couldn't tell anything was wrong with her. She was still throwing things into the toilet, knocking things over, yelling at people and being a general nuisance.

I don't say it was a mother's WORST nightmare--because she's alive. She's happy and vibrant. She's still eating paper and running around. I still have my little girl.

But it was a nightmare--and as much as I'd like to get that image from my head...I can't. I've had numerous nightmares about it then...and despite my own headaches, I would have sold my soul to make her stop hurting.

When the doctor came in to see her, she said,

"Your first?"
"Yeah. She's my life."
"I can tell that you love her alot."
I was silent, just watching her look at the pages on a childrens book.
"You're a good mother."

God...I didn't feel like it then and I said, "I definitely had a bad mom moment."
"Hardly. Kids get bruised and hurt all the time. I've seen women with children worse off than yours that showed little to no emotion. Maybe when she's older you'd think about teaching at some parenting classes. You could speak from the heart you know?"

And that made me feel really good.

This doesn't really tie into writing, only to say that I know without a shadow of a doubt, if it wasn't for Israel, if it wasn't for the need to give her a better life...I'd just keep writing and keepmy stuff in a drawer somewhere. It wouldn't matter if anyone read it. But I do this for her, to inspire her the way that she inspires me. I do this with the intense hope that she'll look at me one day and say "You're a good mom."

Thanks for reading this guys. Really.