Monday, August 3, 2009

Whistling Past the Graveyard

My Mother-in-Law fell down a short series of steps in our house and shattered her ankle. She's in the hospital now. She's a good woman, and we are hoping for a quick recovery. The extended clowncar family is feeling a little worn down as of late.

The reason I bring it up: there was a small spot of blood at the base of the steps which the girls noticed before we did. We cleaned it up. The girls point it out - "that's where the blood was" - whenever they pass. They look to it solemnly, blank-faced but wide-eyed, as if they were passing a graveyard, or a holy place.

I recognize the look very well, from when I was in the hospital. It was the way they looked at me. In particular I remember the way they watched me when I took my first shaky walk down the hospital hallway, with folks on either arm to steady me. The look is a mixture of fear and confusion and reverence. Confronted with a sight they do not understand, unsure if they should be frightened or not. Like they are looking down the edge of a deep chasm, unable to see the bottom, fearful of what lies below.

Makes me want to sweep them up in my arms and protect them from the world, the unknown, the passage of time.

I can't do that, of course.

Wish my Mother-In-Law well.


Hilary said...

That first recognition of mortality is heart-wrenching. Give them kidlets an extra hug for good measure.

Best thoughts to your M-I-L.

Nancy Dancehall said...

Give Granny Goose our love.

meno said...

Oh man, that's rough. The best to your MIL.

Mutha said...

Sorry I have been absent for so long! Sorry to hear some of your spolan is gone!
Ah -- The Look -- I know it well. Goes through a parent like a splinter of ice. Nodding back solemnly and saying, "Yep. Stuff happens," is what I am able to offer my boys. But don't forget to smile too -- because life is scary, but sweet too.
Glad to hear you are on the mend!

Suburbia said...

Hope she is on the mend soon.

If only we could protect our little ones from reality sometimes!

Eric Shonkwiler said...

I wish her a swift recovery.

Great insight, by the way. You've got it nailed.

Clowncar said...

They are getting lots of hugs, Hillary, and m-i-l is on the mend.

We will, Nancy.

Rough, but we're coping, meno.

Mutha is back! Yes, The Look can freeze you in your tracks.

Suburbia, it straddles that fine line between teaching them about the world and shielding them from it.

Eric, not so much an insight when it's staring you in the face like that.