9/22/2009

Girls' Day Out

Due to a school closure, P and I had long-planned today's Girls' Day Out. When originally asked what she wanted from the day, all I got from P was, "I want to do some playing." Really kid? Playing? You don't say! What else do three year olds do but eat, sleep and play?

We crammed a lot into our time; bus rides, the park, lunch, shopping for cheap tat jewellery at Claire's and a bucket of dinosaurs from the toy shop, a viewing of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, and a gourmet cupcake purchase for The Dude. She selected one with bright pink frosting, rightly assuming that the colour would please him greatly.

I am utterly, all-consumingly shattered right now, but high on the fact that I have a daughter I can do these things with. I'm not much of a girly-girl, ok, other than my fancy shoe and Johnny Depp fixation I'm really not at all a girly-girl, but I love visions of lunching and shopping with P - two girls out on the town.

I am rather sentimental about it all at the moment anyway, so pardon me for sounding like the classic working Mom, proud of the fact that she's spent ONE WHOLE DAY with her child alone. A colleague recently lost her two year old due to SIDS, so I've been quite precious when it comes to P as of late. I don't know this woman very well, but she's about my age, and she was pregnant with her first not long after I was. I never saw her daughter until the week before she died, when I passed them as I was leaving work; I was holding P, she was holding her daughter. I was comparing her daughter's size to P's, as I do obsessively - a residual long-lasting effect of having a baby born early with serious reflux.

I know it sounds so stupid, but with death I always struggle with the whole notion of here one moment, gone the next. With children this is multi-faceted, because I have spent far too much time trying to remotely fathom what the mother is going through. I don't even have the words to describe how little I am able to comprehend the whole situation.

This is why I'm teary each time P says something like, "We two girls love each other Mum!" and "I'm so excited about Girls' Day Out! No boys allowed, right Mum? No Dad, RIGHT MUM?" In ordinary times my heart would twinge slightly, now I inadvertently go to that dark place I'd rather not go and wonder how I would deal with never hearing similar things again.

It doesn't bear thinking about, but I don't know how to banish those thoughts from my head these days. At night I try not to listen to each breath she expels from the next room; as soon as I start, I'm awake for ages ensuring that one follows the other as it should. I attempt to convince myself that such dreadful occurances are thankfully rare, but I've always been cursed with the overriding thought that if these things are going to happen to anyone, they'll happen to me. I also hate myself for being so melodramatic about it - these concerns of mine are based on the actual experience of someone I know, and I am carrying on about what ifs. This poor woman has to live it, and here I am agonising about hypotheticals.

13 comments:

The Green Stone Woman said...

When you love someone so much, you can scare yourself silly about losing them.

kate said...

I know what you mean about agonizing the hypotheticals when they happen in such close proximity to your life. The only way I get through it is by being the sick woman I am:
I think about statistical probabilities.

So when I was scheduled to take a flight home (flying being something I'm not terribly fond of), two days prior, there was a horrible crash at a small airport not far from here in the same kind of jet I was due to fly. Naturally, I kind of freaked a bit. But then I thought about it. You never hear about two plane crashes spaced so closely together. The likelihood of two crashes happening to the same model of plane at the same kind of airport in the same geographic region within a week of one another is ridiculously small.

So, if it helps, think about it like Sick Kate, in that her loss (while terrible and heartwrenching) actually statistically protects you. If SIDS kills 1 in 10,000 babies (or however many), it would be *incredibly* odd for P to be a second 1 in 10,000 among your social/work network.

I don't know. Reading it typed out like that it doesn't sound as useful or profound or whatever. I just know that when I think about things in terms of statistics, it is slightly more comforting when someone else has taken the statistical fall right before me. Logical? No. Rational? Slightly. Somewhat cruel? Maybe. Accurate? Far from it. But it does help me keep the crushing panic attacks at a minimum. It may never go away, but it makes it bearable.

I love that you and P had such a wonderful Girl's Day Out. These WILL be the memories you look back on with joy. So very sweet.

elizasmom said...

Ah, I play the same statistical game that Kate, above, does. Helps me too.

But I hear you on the day out. When my schedule allowed me to do some of my work late at night from home, I used to have projects and adventures with Eliza almost every day. Now that I have to be at work full-time plus I have the karate teaching gig, we have a lot fewer of them and I miss it DESPERATELY. I'm so glad you and P had such a nice day.

Eva said...

I hear you on the pride of occasional days/time with one's kid. I feel that way after a lunch date.

I also hear you on the fear/sadness. We just had an 18 year old student here fall down stairs and die (at 3:00 AM returning from a fraternity party), and that night I became so upset holding my son (who had a fever at the time), thinking about how many senseless things could happen, and all the ways I would have to teach him to take good care of himself. So very very scary for the families who experience loss, and so scary to try not to become them.

Brigindo said...

I didn't know 2 year olds could die of SIDS. I thought it was defined as an unexplained death under 1 year of age? Am I missing or misunderstanding something?

DrSpouse said...

I know just what you mean, for me it's the "but surely they can come back?" feeling.

With older children it is known, apparently, as SUDC.

Calliope said...

""We two girls love each other Mum!"
oh I am melting!!!!

so so so sorry to read about your friend

Caro said...

I do the statistics thing too.
Doesn't stop me imagining stuff late at night though.

rockmama said...

I seriously almost make myself throw up sometimes with hypotheticals. So much so that if I find myself in a dream with the prawn in it, I'll wake myself up right away, because I KNOW that my subconscious is getting ready to do something dastardly to my little girl. Had one the other night so bad that I had to get up and run to her room. Of course, she was blissfully asleep, with her butt in the air.

Huge condolences to your friend.

Lut C. said...

I also thought SIDS was 'reserved' for much younger babies. Of course, the actual cause doesn't matter that much. The thought of losing your (my) precious little girl is very, very scary!

When I have to go to work early, I usually go in to her room to check whether my girl is still breathing (at the risk of waking her up).

I'm always a bit worried when I go to daycare to pick her up, have they kept her safe?

Betty M said...

How dreadful for your colleague. I play the same stats game everyone else does which is cruel bt marginally helpful. Doesn't stop me have drowning nightmares (my main child safety paranoia) involving my ones anytime I hear of another child dying accidentally/suddenly.

Will now have to think of Claire's product lines to make me feel better. Sounds like it was a great day out.

Kristi said...

How awful. I'll join the gang and say I've never heard of a child that old dying of SIDS. I cannot imagine that mother's grief.

I play the hypotheticals game too. I think it's only natural, and something that we're prone to as soon as our babies are born.

But, to end this on not so somber a note, I'm glad you had an awesome day with P. I experience the same feelings when Isabella and I spent the rare moment alone together.

Molly said...

Unimaginable. Truly.