Lucy was playing on one field, and I was on Emma’s field watching her run around in a yellow tee shirt that reached almost to her knees, skimming the top of the too-long black shorts that went just below her knees. It was like a flapper dress. Mollie was six months old in the back of a heavy-as-sin double stroller, and Abby, just two and a half, sat in the front, no doubt contemplating mischief as she always was at that age. (Ask me another time about our one and only chance on the Disney Cruise and dinner at King Triton’s … yeah, good times.)
The fields that we were playing on were full-sized. The goals were heavy, metal and literally regulation sized as well, something like 6 feet by 12 feet. Kids were running around like ants in a just disturbed mound, the wind was blowing, shouts were coming from everywhere as parents encouraged from the sidelines. The shrill whistle of a referee pierced through the sounds every thirty seconds or so, only to be carried away by the intense gusts that must have been Mother Nature practicing her breathing exercises.
I turned around to check on Mollie when I saw it happen out of the corner of my eye. A gust of wind had gotten caught up in the netting of the soccer goal, and not being staked down, the goal flipped on it’s 90-degree axis angled base.
I felt it.
I didn’t see it, I felt it. In my heart, on my head … in my soul.
Emma had been standing in the exact spot, a four year old child, all of forty pounds. And I knew … I knew.
When I turned around, my stomach, now down in my shoes, wanted to retch. She was flat on the ground, parents that were closer moved to lift the heavy beams off of her after the initial WTF pause.
She was alive. And crying.
By the grace of God, the beam had hit her on her forehead and not two inches back, on the top or back of her head. Her nose was gushing blood, her eyes were gushing blood and her mouth was gushing blood. The beam had rolled down her face.
“Her nose is broken,” said one mom.
“Her teeth are loose,” said another.
“Call 9-1-1,” screamed someone else.
Everything moved in slow motion, it seemed. She was crying, gushing, spurting. I was covered in my daughter’s blood and all I could think about was … she’s alive. And she very well might not have been. The first responders showed up, were very calm, were very exacting, but they called her Trudy or some other name, which pissed me off for some reason. Irrationality.
As I look back on that day, I remember kicking in to auto-pilot. As moms, we have this reserve somewhere. I like to think of it as our Mary, Mother of God ability, where she watched her child being beaten. And what did she do afterward? She cleaned. I had three other children at that moment to find, comfort, organize. I was at the soccer field with a friend, and as I sent someone off to find her, all I could do was go through in my head everything that needed to be done. Lucy needed to be found and given to Angie, Abby too, Mollie needed to stay with me because there weren’t enough seats in Angie’s car, plus, she would need to be nursed soon. My mom needed to be called, my husband, my voice student’s lesson needed to be cancelled, and my own voice lesson with my professor needed to be cancelled. The ambulance came, whisked us away to the hospital, and everything worked out.
Emma is alive and thriving today. For the most part.
Heartache has hit my child, and again … I felt it. I shook with it. Except this time, its two people that I hurt for. And unlike when Emma was almost killed, there is nothing I can do. There is no bandage to change, no cuts to clean, no doctor’s visit to keep. I could buy him and her a million teddy bears, but it wouldn’t help. This hurt comes from the inside and the only thing I can do is hug, love, pray and kiss.
Mediocre stuff, and I feel useless.
Time will fix this. In my head, I know this. I’ve lived through heartache after all, we can’t get to our position in life as parents and not have experienced a broken heart.
But I feel it.