I was supposed to be writing about the girls first dance recital today. The one where Genevieve ran from the stage crying half way through and Arianna just stood there like a statue, hypnotically staring at carnival ride off stage right. Instead, it's a split second at bed time that's been bouncing around in my head for the last 12 hours. Screaming in my ear the be dealt with.
Because of the recital the girls missed naps yesterday. Ok, it wasn't really the recital's fault; we had them in bed with plenty of time, they just refused to nap. So by the time we got to the community fair where the dance was they were anything but thrilled. Then the scene unfolded and the attitude's continued to persist so we went home for a quick dinner and then straight to bed. By the time we'd jammied up they were getting in those sleep deprived crazy moods. I told them they would only get one story because it was late and they were tired, and that proved my point because they both started crying hysterically. We finally got them in to their beds and then the battle became who's bed Momma would sit on during the story. Arianna made it clear that Genevieve would not be allowed on her bed to share Momma and things got worse from there. Finally we settled things and I pulled a book and sat on the nightstand between their beds to read it. And here's where it happened. For what ever reason Genevieve got really excited. She grabbed the safety rail on her head and bounced herself up and down. She must have come down just right because the next second she launched in to the air. Because she was holding the rail her legs went up and her head and torso went down so she was completely vertical with her feet toward the ceiling, head aimed right toward the floor. I can describe the whole thing in slow motion because that's exactly how it played out. She came down towards the floor below head first, arms still at her side from having held the railing. I know her arms wouldn't would get out soon enough break her fall because I caught her, my left arm reactively sweeping around in a hook motion and just barely snagging her ankles. When she stopped, the top of her head was a mere inch from the floor. I know there's no way to for sure how bad this could have been, but come straight down on the floor with the full weight of your body on your neck? We'd be lucky if we only ended up in the hospital with a concussion. This had all the potential for a broken neck. A cracked skull. Any number of horrible outcomes. I lowered her gently to the floor and my heart exploded in my chest. Sweat poured from my brow; I had to leave the room. I came that close to losing my child. That close to having all this potential, this clean slate and bright future wiped from the slate before her, all in one stupid and innocent motion. Gina doesn't like that I do this, but I play the "what if" game in my head all the time. What if I went left. What if I stayed here. What if, what if, what if. Well, what if I hadn't sat between their beds. What if I was still picking out the story. What if it was Gina reading. What if I was holding the baby. What if, what if, what if. There's this blog going around right now, a bucket list for Avery, a 5 month old who has an incurable disease and will die (not might, will) in a very short while. Oh, that every child had a parent who loved them as much as these. The blog they write is not in mourning or in complaint, it's simply their attempt to give her the best short life they can. To enjoy every moment that they have her. To love her, as much as they can while they can. My daughters don't have an incurable disease. They don't have a clock counting down they're time. By all odds I will not be there to bury them when they go. But I should treat my time no different then these parents. I should love no less and work just as tirelessly to give all of myself while I still can. Because, while I have no countdown signalling a coming end, what if? What if?