So I’m still at my parents’ house. Today was kid-full. Everyone was here from about 1:00 on, and everything was pretty smooth until the last 10 minutes. As Dane was packing up everything the boys brought, the diaper bag, the Xmas toys, random sippie cups, he paused to play with Claytie, who was hanging on his leg. Dane often “rough houses’ with the boys, they love it and have grown up with it, and he has never hurt them – they’re just burly boys, y’know? Anyway, by some timing mistake and shoe impediment, somehow Clayton tripped and fell forward, neatly hitting his forehead HARD on the sharp edge of my parents’ fireplace hearth. The jagged, brick edge. I happened to be sitting right there, and it happened in slo-mo, just like they say. He did not fall far, but it made a juicy cantaloupe sound when it hit, and the fact that he didn’t cry right away because he was in shock was not a good sign. Then everything started moving fast, as I guess they do in crises situations. Dane grabbed him and said ‘it’s bad” as Clayton started to scream, I ran into the kitchen to get ice, my mom was grabbing a towel, Cole was in the middle of everything going “I wanna see where it split, I wanna see the split”, Nicole was nursing Cooper in the back room. I got her, grabbed Cooper, and after 10 more minutes of panicked muddling and my dad, mom, Dane, Nicole, me, all talking over each other trying to figure out where to go and with whom. At one point my mom was going to accompany my sister, but thank goodness somehow my brother took her instead. (He's much more of a "rock" than my mom.)
The rest of us stayed here and waited for about 2 hours – which is relatively quick for an ER visit, especially on Xmas day. Cole was weirded out and scared, very clingy and asking lots of questions about whether his brother was going to be okay. Oddly, even though Nicole hadn’t finished feeding Coop, he was fine – the chicks passed him around all evening, and he even fell asleep in my arms for about 30 minutes (boy, my arm is going to hurt like a mofo tomorrow…). Side note: there is perhaps nothing more peaceful then holding a sleeping baby in your arms. Anyway, me and Dane were sitting in shock like deer in the headlights —I was feeling guilty because I was sitting so close when it happened and couldn’t reach him in time, Dane was feeling guilty because technically he was playing with Claytie when it happened, although it was totally one of those things that just happens when you have 3 rambunctious boys. I could tell he was totally worried about whether Nicole would be “mad”, and I also knew it wouldn’t even enter her mind to be “mad” -- it truly was no one’s fault, and they’re not like that anyway. The time seemed to pass slowly.
Long after the three returned, triumphant, Claytie proudly sporting a glued gash on his forehead (they don’t even use real stitches anymore!), long after they all packed up and left, I have felt edgy and weepy. For the past few hours I just sat in the den with my parents, my dad napping and my mom knitting, watching The Saint on HBO, and the whole time I’m holding back tears. I just feel deeply disturbed about the whole thing. It makes my stomach ache. I can’t put my finger on it – everyone is fine, it really could have been so much worse. Claytie wasn’t even crying by the time they got in the car to go to the ER; I just feel sickly. And I wonder, is this a maternal instinct I might be experiencing?? For the very first time? I don’t know how else to describe the weird panic/calm mode/fear/ache I felt when I saw Clayton’s gaping forehead. It was this wildly protective feeling, and I wanted to just swoop him up and fly him to the nearest hospital. It broke my heart to hear his tears of pain. I don’t think I’ve ever heard those before.
After they all left my mom asked if I was stressed out today – because often too much familial stimulation makes me slightly woozy – and honestly, they didn’t. The whole cracked-head thing just put a real damper on everything (well, duh.). Maybe I’m worried that Clayton is going to have a scar on his beautiful, perfect, creamy forehead? Maybe the panic ER feeling reminded me of my own trips to the hospital? Maybe holding a normally wise-cracking 4-year old as he shook and cried in fear for his brother just brought out that instinct I didn’t know I had. But in any event, tonight I realized for sure, although I had suspected it before, but I knew for sure that my love for my nephews is certainly a maternal type of love, even though they didn’t come from my womb. I know that I would surely dive in front of a car or a bus or a lion in order to protect one of them. And it’s weird to realize that about yourself. So even though I may never be a “real” mom with my “own” kids, I hope I can be a positive influence in their lives, forever, I hope I am a special Auntie Lisa who they will be comfortable with. Who they feel they can talk to as they grow up, maybe like a surrogate mother. An extended family. I never had that in my life; we were always pretty isolated from our cousins/aunts/uncles because my dad was in the army and we moved a lot. I’m glad I’m growing up with the boys. I’m glad I have chosen to stay in Texas for that reason, and tonight I realized it really was a valid reason, a real reason, and not just an excuse for why I haven’t packed up my shit and moved to Europe yet.
Although I have to admit, watching the Saint, all those European scenes, I did get the old Europe yearning going again. I’m DEFINITELY going in 2005. Today marked the 7th year since I met Rocco in Barcelona. And that is too damn long. You only live once – carpe diem, for real.