Monday, December 8, 2008

Needing mommies

There are these moments in life that can come out of nowhere and make you feel like a little girl again. But a scarier version of being a child, because you have this realization that there are some things that Big People can't fix. There's this sense that you are lost in this big shopping mall of life and you're searching for the comfort of seeing your mom's shoes in the sea of sneakers.

My dad called today. Andrew and Simone were sleeping. Jack was watching his show. And I was doing some work while 2/3 of my children were graciously synchronized-sleeping. This week is the last week of the semester, so revision papers are coming in.

My mom fell today onto the cement in the garage. She was getting into the car and only one leg was in when she fell backwards. She falls differently than others, with her muscular dystrophy...so she can't break her fall. Her leg shattered at "boot leg" height. She split open her head. And she couldn't get off the cement floor of the garage (even with help), so my dad had to call paramedics.

Things will be fine, I guess, as life crises go. She'll be in a wheelchair. She's in the hospital for 3 days and they're layering on the morphine. And this is a good time to put in some more ramps and accessibility things in their house. But there was the fragility in me that said, What if this were The Call? That this was somehow a dress rehearsal for hearing that someone I love had an accident that wasn't just about cat scans and putting in rods surgically. I'm not quite sure how one copes with that. Do you ever feel old enough to not need your parents?

I heard my mom in the background say she missed me, in a drugged state, and suddenly, I felt very far away from home. And very, very little. And I wanted to get in the car and drive 24 hours home so I could cuddle next to my mommy and cry. And it occurred to me that I would be packing up my three little children to come with me, and it seemed like an oddly anachronistic fact that there were little people depending on me.

Just after I got off the phone with my dad, Steve called to tell me his brother Dave was just minutes away and stopping by on his way out of town to drop off Christmas presents for the kids. I was in this dazed and heavy place, and looked out the front window to see him. Oh my, is he a gracious man. I'd been grading all morning while the boys were at Robyn's, so the house was a mess. He didn't even blink or make a comment about it. And I'm sure I seemed a bit "off," as I was feeling this dazed and floaty sense in my brain and wondering if I was going to start to cry. I should write him to apologize, as I hope he didn't feel unwelcomed.

Just minutes after he woke from his nap, Andrew smooshed his fingers closing a drawer on them, hard. Ouch. He came running towards me, holding out his tiny fingers, so I could kiss them for him. That I have that power in this little person's life...where just kisses can heal nearly any wound...can be a beautiful realization or a scary responsibility, depending on my reserves that day.

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