Thursday, December 11, 2008

That Heartbeat

For many reasons too complicated and menial to discuss, I picked up the kids from school today in the rain. In the stroller, in the rain.

Because of that rain, I left the stroller under the awning and not in its usual place next to the door. I left the kids at the top of the stairs in front of the school to get their gear into the double jog stroller before getting them strapped in.

I turned around because in the instant it occurred to me that LittleMan might not wait for me, he started down the steps. The concrete steps.

I took a step matching the one he took. Except his foot never solidly hit the next stair.

He tripped. Head first, he started that slow tumble forward.

In the heartbeat between what could have been and what happened, I reached him. I cupped the side of his head with my right hand.

My hand hit the concrete. His face did not.

I aged twenty years in that heartbeat. That heartbeat between trauma and miracle.

I don't know how I made it to him in time. I have theories, but that is a discussion for a more personal space.

Tonight, I am weary. I kiss my son's soft cheek and inhale the smell of him. Somewhere mixed in the tangy scent that is boy and baby, I close my eyes and am grateful.

8 comments:

A Free Man said...

I had a similar situation at a restaurant with a dodgy high chair. I still don't know how I got to him before his head hit the sidewalk. I know what you mean, though. I've never felt so much fear and relief. Glad it turned out the right way for you as well!

SSG said...

WOah, just reading this post made my heart beat faster. Glad he is OK, I still have crap teeth, unable to bit properly and a lisp from when I went down some stairs on a tricycle and no-one was there to catch me. You musta used that ESP parents have...

tysdaddy said...

I have "been there" to save the kids on many occasions, but also have my share of "not quite quick enough." They have the scars to prove it . . .

Riveting and punchy story. Now I need to calm down . . .

RiverPoet said...

Better than a shot of caffeine is this story! Wow. I'm so glad you were there to catch him, and that rain yesterday? That was some downpour. You definitely did not need a trauma to add injury to insult!

Peace - D

Patois said...

I've had those heartbeats. I'm so glad you reached him in time.

buddha_girl said...

Oh my gosh. I literally just swallowed bile that rushed to my throat when I read this one.

Nothing says love like the amazing connection we have with our children. I am so glad that Little Man felt your hand cradling his head rather than the concrete.

Joe said...

wow... you and AFM freaked me out. I wonder if they make hockey pads in a 12m size...

Gypsy said...

Oh crap! Thank goodness for lightning fast mom reflexes.