On Halloween night, Katherine’s Dorothy shoes betrayed her and she fell up the stairs onto our neighbor’s porch. She cried immediately and for a long time. Through her tears, she was insistent that we keep trick or treating and given our past two years with weather related Halloween cancellations, I agreed that we could continue. I knew something wasn’t quite right though. Katherine never ran to catch up with her friends and she didn’t sprint to the house that gives out full sized candy bars.
Katherine woke up on Friday morning still unable to put pressure on her foot so she stayed home from school and I took her to the doctor. An x-ray revealed no break but the doctor felt significant swelling and suspected a deep bruise. Caroline not only had school all day but plans after school and in to the evening. Rob was out of town. Not so long ago, a day at home with one child, who couldn’t play outside or go on errands, would have felt like an eternity.
I will admit that parts of the day dragged and one of us may have used the word bored a couple of times but overall, the day marked a change for me. I realized how rare it now is to spend uninterupted time with one child. How rare it is to have no plans for hours on end. How rare it is to have a child want my undivided attention. Over dinner with friends that same night, we thought back to the women who gave us advice as we stood in the grocery store lines with our babies. We remember looking at these women, through desperately sleep deprived eyes as we brushed unwashed hair out of our eyes. We remembered thinking these women were crazy. These women who told us to enjoy those moments. That the baby years would fly by and one day we would miss them.
I won’t lie. I don’t miss my sleep deprived eyes or my unwashed hair. But I do miss those moments. And on Friday, I got a glimpse of that time again. That time when a child was totally dependent on you. That time when the clock seemed to stand still. That time when you were the entertainment. Not soccer or dance or playdates but you. And I was glad for the reminder.