Sunday, September 16, 2007

Safe at Home

For the first time in about 5 years, we actually went on a trip... just Sara and I... without the kids... the pauses are for dramatic effect, by the way... Really, five years. Everyone I tell this too seems shocked, but for the life of me I can't figure out why. Sam is four and a half, Lily two and a half, we don't have Michael Jackson throw-around money, and we just haven't been able to manage it. My parents came over on a Saturday afternoon and we quietly skulked out of the house, into the car, and drove to New Hope all the while praying our cell phones wouldn't ring. Thankfully, the kids didn't throw up or rob a bank, so we spent the weekend like a couple of giddy newlyweds - getting massages, going out to dinner, having drinks, staying up past nine, it was crazy. My nerves were pretty frayed before we left, and it turns out a couple of absolutely perfect days was all I needed to de-strung-out myself. I occurred to me as I was writing this, I don't think that I thanked my parents enough. We thanked them, of course, but if they had any idea how much I needed to go away, they could have asked for pretty much anything in return and would have gotten it. In the end, we thanked them... and they just took off when they could have even taken my firstborn in return ...
Right back into the swing of things though... and the last shimmering glow of relaxation from two weeks ago was swept away today after work. Had a crummy day in general - plus I have a cold whose only symptoms seem to be congestion and enlarging the section of my brain that controls 'grumpy'. Picked up the kids and felt a bit better even though Sam got in trouble at school, and then got a call on the way home from daycare from my friend Kathy...
Our friend at work has a daughter who is a doctor, newly married, who was in the Army still paying off medical school. A week and a half ago, she came down to the kitchen to tell me her daughter was shipping out to Iraq that day, and then on Wednesday she came down to tell me that she had finally gotten a phone call from her, and she was settling in and getting to work out there. Kathy called because today, right after I left, an army officer showed up to tell our friend that her daughter had just been killed. Gone, in ten days. Just like that.
She asked me to call two other people and tell them, and I had to sit down for a minute on the kitchen floor while the kids were watching TV to get myself together first. It was funny though, because I couldn't even get the words out. When I called, Kate was on her way to IKEA and laughing because her friend was lost, Jen was in the middle of teaching a piano lesson, and I just couldn't get my lips to make the words, like if I didn't say it, somehow it wasn't true.
Tonight all I see in Lily is someone else's daughter, like I'm watching a ghost. I keep thinking that there was a time when her daughter rubbed icing on her face like Lily did tonight, grabbed onto her leg like Lily grabs onto my leg when I'm trying to walk, and held her hand with the same gentle determination that Lily holds mine. Funny thing is, the thing that I see every night on the news affecting families all over the world has just lightly brushed by me, and still has shaken me to the core... today we're safe at home, and she is gone.
Just like that.

1 comment:

Squishy said...

It's frightening how one minute someone is here and then gone. I lost my brother very quickly and it just wrecked my world. Yesterday peanut was at childcare when I was picking him up and he collided into another child. I went to pick him up and he just lay limp in my arms for the longest 30 secs ever. We called an ambulance and went to the hospital and he checked out fine. But it has messed with my head. So I understand why you feel so shaken. Your human just like all of us.

Clicky Web Analytics