When the Bough Breaks

Posted: March 1st, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Friends and Strangers, Miss Kate | No Comments »

Today we had a scary scary experience at the local play structure. Brother-in-law John, nephew Gavin, and Kate and I wandered to Frog Park while pregnant sister-in-law Lori took a nap.

At one point while Kate and I were climbing on the wooden structure, she started to head off somewhere just a few steps ahead of me, and in a weird slow motion moment while realizing it was happening but unable to make my body catch up to my brain, I saw her toddle, stumble, then horrifyingly fall backwards off a 4 foot ledge, landing on her neck, head and shoulder, and letting out a heartbreaking wail.

I was terrified that she could be hurt in some horrible head or neck way. From the moment I saw her tip over I started screaming like a crazy lady in some way hoping that drawing attention to what was happening would signal Kate’s guardian angel to swoop in and catch her. My screams only alerted the other mothers to run towards us, as I jumped down alongside the fireman-like pole where she’d fallen to gingerly gather her up.

Thankfully, thankfully, thankfully, she seemed fine. She didn’t seem to have anything broken or terribly wrong. She was sobbing, and later chanting, “Bump, bump, bump” about her head (though it wasn’t until an hour or so later that I realized that was what she’d been saying). She had to have felt some pain but as I clutched her to me, I was totally okay with that. I was just grateful to the gods that she wasn’t gravely hurt. Bruises or a bump on her noggin we could totally deal with.

Thankfully, she landed on woodchips which were covering some kind of spongy astro-turf-like playground cover. Designed for the very purpose of cushioning the fall of your most beloved and adored and cherished wonderful child.

John assured me I wasn’t a bad mother for not being right there to prevent it from happening. A nanny who was nearby looked at a little red patch on Kate’s head and brushed off some woodchips from her hair. A dad who had been on another part of the play structure and saw it all go down assured me she landed on her shoulder and not right on her head. It was one of those times when the smallest kindness from strangers was wholeheartedly welcomed and appreciated. Yes it was scary, they all seemed to say, but it was going to be alright.

From John’s cell phone (am I sure I’m not a bad mother for also not having mine on me?) I called Mark, and then Dr. Robbins. The receptionist ran through the concussion checklist which provided further encouragement. (She didn’t lose consciousness! She wasn’t bleedling! She cried when she fell! Questions that gave me insights into worse scenarios and made me realize on a deeper level how terribly lucky we were.)

Tonight, following doctor’s orders, Mark woke Kate up a few hours after she went to sleep to check on her. She responded in the way that indicated all was well. A kind of yo-why-you-wakin’-me-up? reaction, before settling back down to sweet baby sleep.

All is well, save my regret about not being closer, about not having caught her, and about not always having a helmet strapped on her head. Our dear sweet Kate who we love more than life itself is well, and I got a sudden big dose today of appreciating just how lucky we are in so many different ways.

Some day I may even take her to a playground again.

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