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I think I called her Mommy

December 12, 2012

Today. It was not on purpose or for any special effect. Asleep, I heard a horrible “thud, thud,” and awoke thinking, did she drop something large? Did SHE fall, again? I can’t even tell you what I was wearing; I know I had my glasses, because I had to throw them off to see her properly. My vision is funny that way – no glasses for reading or close work, glasses for distance. So I threw them off and they landed somewhere, and there she was, on the family room floor. I was grateful that it was not the concrete garage floor on which the last fall played out. From what I could tell, the two thuds I had heard were her face, and then her hip, hitting the carpeted floor. A large bloom of red was already spreading across the paper-thin skin of her cheek, and I could see that she would have a shiner around that eye. Later, she did.

I held her in my arms and said, “What hurts?”
She said, “I fell down.”
“I know; can we get you to sit?”

We could. As our foreheads held touching each other for dear sanity, we managed to raise her frame to a sitting position. She immediately sat cross-legged and I almost laughed. She was always yoga girl, pretzel girl. I know I kept saying, “Mom, Mom,” and once, I think I said, “Mommy.”

I detest those falls as much as I can detest anything and if the word “hate” was not verboten, I would use it for certain. I would hate the falls. I would hate them and damn them to hell and any other bad words I could think of using. I would hate the blooms of red on her face and body and the embarrassment she feels every time her body fails her. I would hate the unfairness of it all. I would hate that this incredibly strong woman would ever be made to feel vulnerable. I would hate the world and everything that came to threaten her impossibly tiny body that has become truly vulnerable. I would hate the word vulnerable.

But we’re not allowed to hate.

So I picked her up and we slathered on cream and checked all of the bones and other parts that can hurt. She has a shiner. But she smiled. She took my heart for the millionth time with that smile, and we will be okay. We will do what we need to do, and sometimes things will hurt more than we can take. Sometimes things will seem unfair. Sometimes the world, and each of our lives, will stink beyond our ability to tell of it.

Then someone will look up and through the most spectacular shiner ever, they will smile. That’s all we will need.

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