As it turns out, my daughter won't be nominating me for the Mother of the Year award any time soon. It's not just because she is only three and cannot read or write and is therefore incapable of completing her nomination. It's also not because I'm pretty sure this award doesn't actually exist. It's actually because yesterday was an absolute epic fail in my career as a mother.
We started out on a high. I had an awesome play date planned with some of our best friends. We just had to stop by home and take care of a few things after I picked her up from day care and we were on our way. The Nugget was in a fabulous mood. As she served one of our dogs her dinner she said, with a flourish, "Enjoy your dinner, Frolly!"
I buckled my happy baby into the car. I shut the door and turned to load a couple of things in the back of the car when I heard what can only be described as a blood-curdling scream. "MOMMY!!!" I instantly willed what I knew to have happened away, but no luck. I had shut The Nuggets fingers in the car door.
It will help you to understand that I have what's known as "suicide doors" on my car. They look something like this:
This means that it is possible for The Nugget to reach forward and put her hand in the door hinge from her seat. She has been doing this lately (I think she has only recently gotten tall enough for it). I just didn't notice she was doing it this time.
Of course, I ripped her out of her seat and panicked in the most calming way I could, soothing her while I screamed obscenities at myself inside. As it turns out, there was some swelling and a fair amount of pain, but no permanent injury. We iced it and I gave her some Ibuprofen. We called Daddy on the phone and that comforted her greatly (though I am sure it didn't help Daddy's evening at work).
I considered scrapping the play date, but she was having none of that. Instead, I called my friend and gave her fair warning that we had just had an accident and I wasn't sure if the play date would go well but that we needed to try. She kindly agreed.
The Nugget felt better bit by bit and had a fun time playing. The popscicles and juice no doubt helped a lot. Then we all decided to hit the nearest park for a while. It was a great park that she and I had never visited, one of the kind with bouncy rubber beneath your feet in some parts and rubber mulch in others. A very safe place to play.
The girls were all great. They played, both together and separately, for a long time. There were slides and swings and sand and all manner of fun to be had by all. We were starting to wind down when The Nugget became really interested in climbing on a three foot high fish. I sat on a nearby bench and beamed at how she shared with her friend; they both wanted to sit on the head of the fish and so were wriggling on together when The Nugget lost her footing. And fell. Head first.
As it turns out, that squishy, rubbery stuff doesn't help ease the pain of a face plant a whole lot. She was bleeding and bruised in multiple places on her sweet little face. My calming panic routine began again as I swept her up and brushed away tears. It just wasn't going to be her day today. Or mine. We headed home.
With the tears stopped, she happily took a bath and snuggled tightly with me during our bedtime routine. I watched her extra-long as she fell into a peaceful sleep, reminded that I will never be able to prevent all of her boo-boos. The best thing I can do is help pick her up after she falls, remind her that she will be able to go on, that injuries heal, even the ones that change us. That it's worth trying it all again because when things go right they can go really, really right. And sometimes, even when things go wrong, it can turn out to be absolutely right after all.
I guess we both learn these lessons together. Maybe there's redemption, even on the bad days. Maybe, when she's old enough, she'll consider that nomination after all.