This morning I dragged my children out of bed, nagged at them to hurry up, probably yelled at them during breakfast, threw my coat on over my pajamas, and finally got us out the door more or less on time.
Half a block away from Monkey’s school, I drove the car into the back of a very large dump truck. No, not on purpose.
And we will all be fine, we will all be fine, we will all be fine; I have to keep saying that over and over and over in the hopes that it will somehow block out the flashbacks of the moment when I stood on the brakes, or the moment when I turned around and locked eyes with Chickadee and realized she was bleeding, realized her forehead was completely split open down to the bone and that I was about to vomit or pass out and that I could do neither because I had to take care of my babies.
And somehow I got out of the car, got the kids out, calmed and comforted Monkey’s hysterics and pressed a wad of napkins to Chickadee’s head and exhorted her to please keep talking, please don’t close your eyes baby, talk to me, I’m here, keep talking until they come to get us, baby, please.
And the police came and the ambulance came and God bless every one of those workers and all the other people who stopped and helped and the man who lent me his phone so I could call my ex to meet us at the hospital. The time from getting out of the car to shortly before we were discharged from the hospital is all a blur. All but the part where I was supposed to walk Monkey around a bit while my ex stayed so they could start stitching Chickadee up, and despite the sedative and anaesthetics she shrieked and shrieked and I thought my heart would explode if I could not find a way to calm her.
So I kicked my ex out to the hall to walk with Monkey so that I could hold her–she had to lay flat on her back, so I laid my head on her chest and wrapped my arms around her sides–and wipe her tears and whisper that I was sorry, and I was there, and it would be all done soon.
Monkey has an impressive goose egg, but this did not stop him from advising the ambulance driver on how to drive, charming the entire nursing staff, devouring a package of pop-tarts, coloring for a while and deeply considering which stuffed animal would make his sister feel the most better, and playing an elaborate keep-away game with an inflated purple glove that one of the EMTs gave him.
Chickadee received 20 stitches. I watched them all. She has a smile-shaped wound across her forehead and told me tonight that it should really be a frown. I agreed. I did not tell her how much worse it looked before they closed it up, or how I had briefly wondered how I could possibly survive if she’d died in my arms on the side of the road.
I am battered and bruised and basically having one continual panic attack in waves that wash over me.
And we will all be fine, we will all be fine, we will all be fine.