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Saturday, February 2, 2013


Exactly a year ago at this time (8:42pm), I was sitting in an empty pediatric surgical waiting room. They don't schedule procedures at that time of night; they only do them in emergencies. I was alone because my husband was still on his way back from dropping our daughter off at a friend's house for the night so that we could stay at the hospital and devote all of our fretting and energy to the child who'd been hit by a car a few hours before.

The word hit seems wrong in that sentence.

Emotionally, smashed seems more appropriate. Careened into

There really are no words that feel adequate to describe the horrifying slow-motion of watching an eight-year-old, your eight-year-old, on a scooter suddenly be plastered onto the front grill of a gold-tan minivan.

One minute, you are walking your dog, and the children are scooting through the glimmer of an unseasonably warm February day, and the next minute, the neighborhood street that was quiet and empty is filled with your panicked screams and the hulking car with your broken child in a limp pile at its bumper.

The point here, though, is not just that I have been having flashbacks all day long, or that I have been alternately on the verge of tears and the verge of near-hysterical laughter, but that I feel the most immense gratitude there ever was because He. Is. Fine.

Apart from two scars above his knee where the surgeons performed their miracles, there is not a mark on him to suggest what happened last February.

He used to be able to say, with definitive firmness "February 2," when asked when the accident happened. But today, he didn't even think of it.

I watched him playing basketball this morning, pounding up and down the court, catching rebounds, making shots on the impossibly high ten-foot baskets, guarding opponents, and the tears just rolled down my face. He is fine.

I can hardly believe I can write those words.

He laughed with his teammates, cheered them on from the bench, scored.

We took the dog for a walk in the snow today. My son didn't want to come. He wanted to stay on the couch and read. But I made him join me. Neither he nor his sister knew it, but I needed them both to come. I needed this peaceful snow, and this threesome, and this walk, if for no other reason than to remind myself that there are so many more days for dog-walking than there are days for horrifying accidents while dog-walking.

We laughed, and slid on the ice that lay concealed under the fresh snow (no unseasonable warmth this year), and raced the dog down the path. We came home to hot chocolate. We made a dinner that only my husband and I knew was a celebration, extravagance marking my own gratitude, cooking my medium for expressing love.

I sat on the couch between my two children and watched a silly television show and could only think of how it felt: Whole. It felt complete. The scent of hair and child and warmth, their individual scents mingled under my nose, their giggles and caresses enveloping me, I felt surrounded by good fortune.

"What was your favorite part of your day?" I asked him at bedtime, as usual. And when he asked me in return, I told him it was the whole day, every bit of it. "That makes no sense," he said. "You liked going to Home Depot?"

I thought about mentioning this anniversary to him by way of explanation.

But then I didn't. Why should I? He has moved forward. Run forward. Become whole and happy and put this accident in his past. He, thank God, did not see what I saw that day. He will never have that sight in the vocabulary of his memory. And so, having recovered, he should be allowed to stay that way.

Because a childhood should be filled with laughter like this.


dusty earth mother said...

I was holding my breath through this entire story. I'm so incredibly grateful that your son is okay and that he didn't remember this anniversary. xo

Fawn said...

Oh, you made me cry. So very happy for you, so admiring of your wisdom.

Zoeyjane said...

I had no clue. And I have so few words, except for Thank God, and I've missed your face.

Melanie said...

i would have brought it up to my son only because i feel the need to emote all over the place only to realize later that it was counterproductive. but that's why i am here, skipping from blog to blog. i am trying to learn from others :) thank God that he is fine and thank God for doctors.

Suburban Kamikaze said...

Oh god. You have just destroyed a perfectly good rant against my children for something that seemed to matter a few minutes ago. Way to go.


sylvesters said...

i just read this...it made me cry. so thankful that all is well in your world. xoxo

MommyTime said...

You are all dear to me. Thank you for standing with me in this, and always.

LceeL said...

I can't believe how long it has been since I have visited here. Excuses notwithstanding, it's not anything I planned or wanted to have happen. And like you son's accident, it's not anything I hope will happen again.

I am so glad he is well and strong. Happy. Not all caught up in remembering what happened.

That's for Moms to do.

Suburban Correspondent said...

So glad he is all right! I'm sure you'll never be the same, though. Kudos on making it through.

Suburban Correspondent said...

So glad he is all right! I'm sure you'll never be the same, though. Kudos on making it through.

Anonymous said...

Please don't stop writing entirely. I enjoy what you say (and how you say it) so much.


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