I recently saw a relatively crappy, box-office bomb of a movie that shall remain nameless, not only because I'm slightly embarrassed I rented it, but also because I'd be spoiling the ending for you, should you decide you want to rent the same piece of crapola.
Anyhow, it's a horrorish/sci-fi movie, and at the end, after a long, rambling, twisting plot-line, the parents in the movie have to make a choice: have the father shoot the mother in the heart, or allow their only child to live out the rest of his life without his senses of sight and hearing.
It's funny; where I am now in my life, that decision was a no-brainer. Shoot the mom, of course. How could she look at herself in the mirror, knowing what she did to her child, knowing she didn't sacrifice herself for the person she loves most in the world.
I guess that's how you know you're really a parent. When, suddenly, your own life is just MUCH less important than this other person's, and you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you'd do anything to protect him or her.
Well, it's a much more minor situation, but yesterday, I fell down the steps in our duplex. I was carrying Stella back downstairs after her nap, walking carefully as I always do, when suddenly, she shifted her weight on my hip, and the hand that normally rests on the handrail needed to come up to keep her from hitting her head on the wall. Then, in slow motion (this stuff always happens in slow motion), I felt my foot slide out from under me and I felt us both being hurled into the air.
Stella was on my right hip, and I was falling toward the right. The thought of all my weight crashing down on her was horrifying, so somehow, in the air, I shifted her to the front of my body, causing us to land on my hip, my back, and my elbow.
The moments following the fall were confusing, excruciating and terrifying. Stella began sobbing, and I had no clue if she was hurt or not. I couldn't move or feel my right arm, and I was worried that I was paralyzed from hitting my back so hard. The rest of my body was tingling intensely.
I used my left arm to hold Stella and comfort her, but I was on the verge of vomiting the entire time. I really wanted to check her, to make sure she was OK, but she wouldn't let me stop hugging her long enough.
Eventually, and quite abruptly, Stella pulled away from me, stopped crying, grabbed a book and asked me to read it to her. In my current state, I know that's adorable and hilarious, but at the time, it was even more confusing and disconcerting.
I dodged her, gave her a toy to distract her, then went to the bathroom in case I vomited. I didn't, but I saw that my right sleeve was ripped and my arm was bleeding everywhere. I tried to move it, and barely could.
I'm a lucky, lucky woman that I have a loving husband who rushed home to check on me and take care of Stella. And I'm a lucky, lucky woman that I feel much better today and can move my arm almost normally. I have two major bruises on my back and my elbow is still weird, but I'm going to be OK. And I'm luckiest of all that Stella doesn't have a scratch on her.
And I'm relieved to know that, even amidst a fall, I had the presence of mind to protect Stella.
I used to scream bloody murder every time I stubbed my toe. Now I've survived both natural labor and a pretty bad fall, both in the name of my daughter. I guess I'm growing.