A Wednesday Morning

My husband was still sleeping this morning when I walked into the bedroom, clutching Tolby to my chest. I was sobbing. "I just..." I gasped, "heard...the...saddest...THING!" The hysteria rose until I heaved out the last word in a phlegm-laden howl. Tolby mistook my extreme emotions for glee. She giggled.

"There was a baby in a walker and the father was in the yard and the baby rolled down the hill and then there was a truck and then THERE WAS AN ACCIDENT!" Amidst the tears and the frenetic run-on, a lesser husband would've had no idea what was happening. But me and Chris, I guess we just have that understanding.

I've heard about horrific events befalling children before. Some of them, like this one, have been local. But this is the first time that I was able to look from the newspaper article in front of me to a baby girl at my side. She was gnawing on an old hardcover version of Capote by Gerald Clarke when I scooped her up and pulled her to me so that her head slipped into the crook of my neck. She patted my back.

My husband looked at my face tinged with snot and Tolby's face tinged with drool and said nothing. It's best that way, which is what he's learned after almost a decade of knowing me. I stepped over my daughter's own grounded Exersaucer and got into bed again next to him. Tolby sat between us, blathering about "da" and "doh" and emphasizing each syllable with a spastic slap of her hand. Then she pulled at Chris's armpit hair and tweaked a nipple. Her laugh was a feathery staccato.

"She's so cute," Chris said, in the redundant way of fathers.

I tickled her so we could hear her laugh again, then I seized at the sound of it and wrapped myself suddenly around her slippery frame. "I love you, I love you, I love you!"

And I thought about this foolish risk we all take when we let our hearts leave our bodies.


Blogger Michele said...

Wow. Well said, as usual. I was feeding my twins the other day when I heard the news about the dcotor throwing his little kids off of the hotel balcony and I just looked at them and sobbed. It does carry so much more weight when you have a visual. Poor babies.
Somtimes this motherhood thing really sneaks up on you and knocks you on your ass.

10:00 AM  
Anonymous motherhooduncensored said...

I love your writing and your descriptive words are like a good meal. Feathery staccato? That's perfection.

And really, they warn us about a few things, but the hearts? Stolen forever - never to be returned - no one told me about that.

10:05 AM  
Anonymous mothergoosemouse said...

I read somewhere that having children is like having your heart walking around outside your body.

I truly cannot read stories like that. I have a terribly visual imagination, especially when it comes to tragedy, and I do fairly well at torturing myself with what-ifs without the help of news stories.

10:28 AM  
Blogger mama_tulip said...

A little while ago I passed an accident on the highway that looked really bad. I thought about it the rest of the way home and ended up blogging about it. I found out the next morning a six-year old girl had died in the accident and I honestly sat down and had a little cry.

It is totally like having your heart walk outside of your body. Bang-on.

3:15 PM  
Blogger J said...

Oh god, the one that got me was when Maya was about 2 (she's 10 now), and a 2 year old was walking over the Golden Gate Bridge with her parents...she was a little bit behind them, and they turned around to wait for her to catch up, and she tripped and fell and went UNDER the guard railing and fell to her death, before anyone could do anything to stop her. Her parents saw the whole thing. I couldn't breathe. So local. Never happened before. Never did anyone think of it happening, I don't think. God, I held her close until she wouldn't take it anymore. And you know what? I don't think they've fixed that part of the bridge yet, either. That was 8 years ago. Ugh.

4:45 PM  
Blogger lynsalyns said...

Binky, this was gorgeous. So relevant and so true. I often feel exactly the way you describe in this post. But I'm not able to articulate it. Thank you for doing it for me.

God, you are a really good writer.

6:27 PM  
Blogger Misty said...

Yeah..my moment like yours was an Oprah show where they talked of a guy who raped a 5 mos old girl. I had a 5 mos old girl at the time, and I just sobbed my heart out. She was asleep and I actually wanted to get her up which is saying a lot considering how little she slept. Becoming a mother just changes how we view the world soooo much. Good piece.

6:32 PM  
Anonymous JGS said...

Lovely piece...a reminder that everything changes once we have kids and we can never go back. We can never look at the world the same, we never experience the world the same. Having kids makes everything irreversibly different in both good and bad ways. We never really had a chance to prepare for that. It just WHOOSH! happens.

10:15 PM  
Anonymous sadsingledad said...

well it's not just moms that love their kids. i've had quite a few of those days when i'd hear of a child being hurt, sick, or dying and i would just not want to let my babies out of my tear-blurred sight. i made it through the blog okay but now that the comments too have been read i am crying. time to go watch my angels sleep.

10:58 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Oh this last line just ripped my heart open, even more than the story itself. Horrible - and yet you're wonderful.

1:55 AM  
Blogger Lauren said...

I don't have a child, but I have a fish that wont poop. This, in itself, is straining enough for both the fish and me that I can't imagine what all of you real mommies out there are feeling. Love to you and Tolby (and Chris)!

10:51 AM  
Blogger J's Mommy said...

Ugh, what a heartbreaking story. I go to bed every night worrying about all the ways my little girl could be taken from me. I know it's probably not healthy but I can't help myself. They can be taken away in an instant and it scares the hell out of me.

11:08 AM  
Blogger Andrea said...

I hate hearing things about babies being injured or killed. And it's so true about the heart on the outside, just waiting for each punch to land.

It's even worse when it's someone you know. I wrote a post awhile back about a tragedy befalling a friend of mine from high school that I've lost touch with. Her daughter was 21 months old and so was my son at the time, so not only did I feel sorry for my friend but I felt the pain as a mother of a child the exact same age. I took that post down out of respect for my friend, not knowing how she'd feel about me airing her story on the internet, even though her local paper (and some national ones) picked up the story and aired it with the gory details before a gag order was imposed by the judge presiding over the case. But I still cry for her. I've often revisited whether or not I should repost it, because mostly it's about my support of my friend, but I still don't know if it's my place to post.

12:19 PM  
Blogger GIRL'S GONE CHILD said...

Oh dude. So much. We just found out that Archer's circumcision was botched and he has to have it fixed (surgery) I have been a nonstop wreck and will probably post about this shortly after shit settles down and I can talk about it without crying.

The idea that our children are mortal and fragile is terrifying. Baby leaves the body with a whole lot of our innards, thats for sure.

3:28 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Chicky said...

I think when a mother delivers her child the doctor should just remove her heart from her chest and hand it to the newborn baby. Its their's as soon as they take their first breath anyway.

A beautiful post about a horrible tragedy.

10:13 PM  
Blogger Mommy off the Record said...

I think this is my first visit to your blog. I really liked this post.

I tried to read that article that you linked to, but it was too heartwrenching to continue reading the whole thing. I can't even imagine the pain that that family will face over such a tragedy. It's hard to put it into words, but you did that very well in this post.

1:40 AM  
Blogger T. said...

Great post Binky.

Although Bug didn't die in a horrific accident, it was just as sudden. And let me tell you, as a momma who has had to bury the biggest piece of her heart and cry herself back to reality, I wouldn't do it any differently.

Because any time spent with your child is a price well paid. Even if the time is only fleeting.

10:44 AM  
Blogger lildb said...

so I'm already weepy this morning, what with the no-sleep-feverish-vomiting-baby and another post I just read that kinda got to me, and then I head over to your place and discover that you've created yet. another. post. that shocks me in the middle of the breast and forces my lungs to tighten. It's really almost unfair, the manner of hoops you are capable of forcing your writing muse to wriggle through.

I am so glad you are that capable.

*bows humbly*

1:06 PM  
Blogger toyfoto said...

What really kills me is that I never experienced this type of gut-wrenching emotion before having a child. What a wonderful post.

11:17 PM  

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