My three year old daughter broke her arm four days ago. It's been such an exhausting, joy-sucking crisis - all the panic, helplessness and sleep deprivation associated with her birth, minus the radiance of a brand new life. I have lots of feelings and a few thoughts as we forge through her healing process, so I've decided to rekindle my relationship with this digital space. Hey, Rare Oats - haven't seen you in a spell.
Since I blog more for the therapeutic benefits and less for the chance to sharpen my storytelling skills, I'm gonna skip over the series of events and go straight to the guilt. Oh, the guilt. I'm a mom, who was brought up Catholic, so this feeling is nothing new. But, man, how it gnaws at me (way worse than usual). The accident happened on my watch. I should have been more careful, but I was too focused on placating her while I worked on something else. We'd been bickering. I didn't know how much worse things were about to get. And on day two of her wearing this enormous, cumbersome cast, I realized I'd been tying the sling wrong and her back was starting to hunch. In quiet moments, my mind wanders back and forth between these incidents of deep regret, as if constantly revisiting them will somehow allow me to push that elusive "rewind" button.
But then there's another, unexpected kind of guilt. As we move away from the trauma and adjust our daily lives to my kid's recuperation, it means a lot to know that other people are thinking about us. I feel so humbled by my loved ones' thoughtful words, because I know I haven't always been there for them when they were experiencing strife. It wasn't that I didn't care or have them in my thoughts. More likely, it was that I couldn't think of something more original to say than, "I'm so sorry this is happening," and decided it just wasn't worth saying. But if you let your stupid ego keep you from showing people how you feel about their situation, they're never going to know. The truth is that I'm a very emotional person, so much that I've learned to temper my expression for fear of freaking out the people I like. That reserve doesn't help when it's time to comfort others, and then I wind up behaving like some common dude.*
So to anyone who thought I just didn't give a shit when you were suffering, I'm really sorry. And deepest apologies to my sweet girl, who is definitely not allowed to see all my feelings until we're well past this chapter. For now, I must maintain a semblance of emotional stability. By the time you're old enough to read and comprehend this essay, I'll be ready for you to know just how I awful I feel.
*No offense to the guys in my life who've been so kind - thank you.