I am not entirely sure how it all happened — though I was standing right beside my twenty-month old daughter when our wooden piano bench suddenly smashed to the hardwood floor, breaking and ripping the big toe off of her chubby left foot — but I am absolutely sure I flew into a panic. Are there any words for that feeling that swallows you whole when your beloved baby is badly injured? I only wish still that it had been my own foot so smashed. I would give my life for her.
That was three weeks ago. Thankfully, her toe was saved, reassembled and stitched back together, her leg and whole self immobilized in a huge and heavy cast up to her hip to help her heal and keep her from moving around. And now she is in a smaller cast, running and riding her scooter with her older brother and sister, healing well and nearly back to her constantly-moving self.
Since that awful morning, we have been on pause– convalescing, resting– as I have needed this convalescing too for my own unexpectedly sad health reasons. And what an oddly beautiful gift this has been, this resting together with my tiny companion. Walking since she was ten months old, running and spinning and climbing and so busy, busy, busy — a literal flash of a toddler — this injury slowed her down — or maybe it made me slow down? — and I could again study her tiny face and hands, kiss her all over like she was my newborn again……..she, my only work to do, my only reason–forget all the toiling.
So much of our days spin –just with the ordinary stuff– the clock rushing past the hours and I don’t even notice. And yet time, this now, is the only real thing in all of it. How am I spending my one life?
I used to be, as a career-holding, happy, single woman, someone who booked her calendar down to the fifteen minute interval — racing, rushing from one thing to the next, anxious to run from stillness, from the quiet. All of the things I did were good things, but I was never still, never at peace, never slow, never in that deep soul position of listening and watching wholly. Still, out of personality and habit, my mind races with all the things I should do and could do and want to do, stealing my joy and the wonder of now.
But then those small worlds, tiny faces, ticking moments of a life passing by suddenly crash me into a stop sign with something like an injury of a baby — and I have no choice but to pause, to remember, to open my eyes again to the beautiful moments comprising each day, including even the hard ones.