Shush! I’m sneaking in before midnight when this meme turns into a pumpkin. Better late than never! (Check out the other entries via Mammasaurus’ fabulous blog.) So, thoughts on this one please (nothing cutting though – boom boom) …
On Saturday night my 3-year-old daughter fell down our stairs. Never one to do things by halves, she tripped over a stair gate, fell across a landing and then tumbled down the steep stairs of our Victorian terrace. The sound of her falling is still in my ears. Just thinking of it now makes my heart beat faster and my stomach turn. She didn’t cry out, but the length of time the thuds continued I knew she’d done more than just trip and fall onto her knees as she so often does when hurtling around the house. It was a horrible moment and – like it’s supposed to at moments like this – time slowed down. As I ran to the top of the stairs I was overwhelmed by an immense fear of what I would see at the bottom. Curled on the floor she had a look of such shock in her eyes. The shock turned rapidly into tears as she realised what had happened.
Thankfully she had luck and an amazing ability to bounce on her side that night – and, for one so wee and scared, an incredible bravery I’ll not forget. Despite being taken to A&E in an ambulance all strapped up and in a neck brace, she was soon home again with just a couple of bruises, a sore head and her ever-present appetite for Peppa Pig (which we of course humoured at 1am as we were just so relieved she was in one piece).
And that is my horrible story with a happy ending. I wish it were so straightforward. This blog post is written for purely selfish reasons: because I can’t get the sound of my daughter falling out of my head. When, in tears, I told my husband this he suggested I write the experience down as a way of ‘dealing with’ the traumatic thoughts I’m having. My first cathartic post. In the grand scheme of things I know that far worse things could have happened to her and far far worse things do happen to other children every day. What frightens me most is not so much what did happen but what could have been the outcome and how easily our life could have been turned upside down by a momentary event. That is what is so difficult to get out of my head. I cannot even begin to contemplate how a parent copes with the loss of a child.
So what do I do? Do I wrap my little girl up in cotton wool, never let go of her hand and not let her learn through the mistakes she makes and accidents she has? For a parent it’s easy to slip into paranoia. As my husband so neatly put it, with a child “you bring something wonderful into your life that also has the potential to devastate it”. Yet we go on growing our families for in reality we know – or at least we have an ardent hope – that a trillion wonderful things will far outweigh the risks that giving your wholehearted love to another human being can bring.