Monday, September 16, 2013

Everyday Miracles and a bit more

 A piece I wrote, Everyday Miracles, was published on Mormon Perspectives.  You can espy it here.

I was glad to see it up, and glad to see the reaction to it, but, honestly, I was glad that I wrote it.

James wrote about it, and, in the style of someone who wasn't actually there, got it wrong.  I didn't just put Edie down for a moment, I just put her down, because that's what I do all the time.  And she didn't burn her hands because I wasn't looking for just a moment, she burned her hands because it was early October and chilly, and she was about to go down for a nap, and I wanted her room to be warm, so I had turned the heat on for the first time.  Because though I'd noticed the exposed furnaces, and asked my landlady about them, (she'd told me, "oh, she'll learn"), I wasn't thinking about them.
He didn't mention that I didn't realize how bad the burns were until I tried to soothe her by putting her down for a nap with her favorite duck pacifier, but, how, when she opened her clenched hand for a split-second and I saw the angry red of her whole palm, I fell through that moment.
About how I thanked God that I had driven James to work that morning so I could run errands, which meant that I didn't have to walk my screaming baby to the emergency room.  About how, as I buckled her into her carseat I realized that it wasn't a runny nose, but that her beautiful lips had been burned too, and the skin was hanging loose.
James didn't know how ashamed I was that, as I drove, I wondered if the people at the hospital would think I was neglectful.
He didn't mention how I barreled through the day, but, when I got home and after Edie had gone to sleep, I sat, shaking, in front of my quesadilla.
It's not his fault, of course.  He wrote the facts as he understood them.  But I was glad to write my version.

Sometimes I don't mention things because they're too deep, like talking about them would cheapen them.  I think this is true, but I also think I'm cautious about this to the point of being elusive.  I'm trying to talk my way out of this habit, and talk--and write--about things that are hard.

Uh, I guess watch out.


  1. Wow. I say bravo for holding it together that long! I would have collapsed in tears.
    You're a great mom, Val. You just have to look at Edie to see the love for you in her eyes. :)

  2. Oh dear Valerie, never did it ever come to mind you did anything wrong. I knew your heart was broken because you couldn't fix it. Welcome to Motherhood. Heartbreak is part of it. Love you Daughter. So proud of you. And now with a broken limb of your own too and still ticking.

  3. When I see these moments playing out in my mind, I feel sad for Edie, but sick for you. Every mother has experienced this at some point. The guilt, the shame, the heartache, the relief... Thank you so much for sharing. I needed to read this.