Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Million to one . . .

Last night, we took the kids to the neighborhood pool. It just opened this past weekend, and every minute since the opening, I have either been in the pool, or been pelted with "When can we go to the pool?" every waking minute.

SO . . . we went yesterday evening and the kids were delighted, of course. My little one has really just started to swim, and he was proudly paddling around in the water. My nephew (he's 16) and a couple other guys were passing a football in the pool (?!) and sure enough, one of the guys zinged the football, it went astray, and before I could utter the words "Watch out for the baby!" the football hit him square in the face with a loud, wet SMACK.

I was out of the pool. I had been out of the pool for about 10 minutes, begging my kids and husband to get out, to no avail. I had just had enough, and I wanted to go, and sometimes I get feelings like that, inexplicable, that I just want to be somewhere else FAST. I had that feeling last night, but I wasn't really able to get that idea across without sounding like a nut.

Anyway, the baby's face swelled, turned reddish purple, and it took every bit of self control I had not to go to the deep end of the pool, pull that kid out by the hair, and beat the living hell out of him. I was so damn angry, I couldn't speak.

My husband brought me the baby, and I was mad as hell at him, too. Goddamnit - where was he, why was he so close to where those fucking stupid boys were playing, why didn't they get out of the pool when I asked? Who the hell plays football in the pool with a leather football?

When I was sure that the baby was breathing, I examined him closely. He was bruised, and swelling, and breathless with pain.

We went home in silence . . . funny thing about the boy, he hardly ever cries, even when he is hurt, but I know him well enough to know that he was hurting badly. What must he think of us, we that are supposed to protect him, keep things like that from happening to him?

As we were driving, I thought about a show I had seen about a man that had inadvertedly left his infant son in the back of his car for hours because he was late to work. He had been nervous about a client presentation, and the baby had fallen asleep on the way to the babysitter. The guy was on autopilot, forgot the baby was even there, he didn't generally take him to the sitter anyway, and his job was on the line. A few hours later, when a co-worker was at his desk, screaming his name and the words baby, car, heat, ambulance . . . it all hit him. The baby had died from the heat, and he was to blame. Amazingly, his wife appeared on camera, and spoke about how she had forgiven him, and gotten through that with the marriage intact.

So, as all that replayed in my head, I could feel my anger start to cool, my heartbeat slow down, and I loosened my grip on the steering wheel. I looked at the baby in the rearview, then over at my husband, sitting miserably in the seat next to me, and realized that I can't control everything, that accidents happen, and that I was thankful that it wasn't much worse. I also finally conceded that I have a remarkable ability to craft my fear into pure, uncut, seething anger and violence when my kids are at stake.

Fucking stupid football piece of shit.

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