Tuesday, April 13, 2010
When Gabriel was born my life was turned upside down. Not only was I a new mother, but I was also a mother to a preemie. For any mother to watch her child - her baby - endure hardships you yourself have never had to experience is a hard thing to request. I slept by his bedside for two straight weeks and experienced all the firsts every new mother gets to have. The first bath, the first diaper change, the first cuddle, the first breast feed. But I also experienced the first feeding which was through a tube, and the first brief touch through the incubator, and the first time all his monitors screamed with alarms signalling that his breathing had stopped and his heart was slowing. I watched first hand as a nurse came sprinting in to resuscitate my son and I knew it hadn't been the first time he had "decelled". In those early days I experienced all that uncertainty, all that fear, and I knew his name held more weight than ever before. I needed more than anything for those angels to exist, and I needed mine - my angel Gabriel- to survive. I'm very grateful to every nurse and every doctor that attended to Gabe in those first early weeks, but it will be too soon if I ever have to step into another situation where my child needs those wonderful people. In short, I never want to experience anything like that again.
So today as I was getting my children dressed and ready to go out, it was all so routine that I failed to notice my now mobile daughter, butt shuffle from her "safe" position beside me to the very edge of a large flight of stairs in our house. In fact I was so engrossed in picking out their outfits that when My angel Gabriel exclaimed "No Edie, no fall down?" I barely glanced up. But when I did I saw my daughter, not four steps from me, leaning towards those stairs which have haunted my dreams (literally). I knew in that instant she was going to fall, I knew in that instant I wouldn't get to her in time, and I knew in that instant that my world was about to crumble around me. My stomach hit my throat, my breath was trapped in my chest and I swear my heart stopped. Suddenly everything turned from play to slow mode. My movements seemed inconsequential, too slow, like a nightmare where no matter how fast you run, you're barely moving. That's when he materialized out of nowhere, my tunnel vision clearing just a little, and I see shes not alone. Gabriel is grabbing her around the waist in the same second that she begins to fall. The slow motion horror film dissolves around me and I stumble to where Gabe has already pulled Edie to a safe distance. I gather her into my arms, tears in my eyes, knowing that it is only by the grace of god that her body isn't broken and bruised at the bottom of our stairs. My knees give out in front of Gabe and he beams that smile that could melt the polar ice caps and says "Edie no fall".
I want to say a million things to him, I need to express my gratitude but everything I manage to choke out are words he doesn't understand. Finally I say the words I've said to him from the instant he was born. "i love you". And at least for today, that's all the gratitude he needs.