Two years. Two years have passed since Esme’s Adventure with Foxgloves. Today is a similar sort of day, it’s warm and dry, just the sort of day for running around the fields catching falling leaves (if you catch one before it hits the floor you get to make a wish), but today I’m staying in.
I might wander into the garden later, let the wind blow away the cobwebs, but for now I’m content on this side of the window. Watching the bluetits squabble over the bird feeder, and the red kite get tossed this way and that in the gusty sky.
Today is the day that I can’t pretend. I can’t pretend that I don’t hold a deep-seated fear. I can’t pretend that I don’t sometimes look at Esme and think, “What if..?”
I have been so careful not to fall into the dangerous trap of overprotectiveness. It would be a false-safety to never let her learn that the world is not all soft edges. She is hardy and sensible and brave.
Her younger brother is now older than Esme was when she ate those Foxglove leaves. It almost feels like an invisible threshold has passed. I have so many blessings to count. So very many, but today it is ok to just sit and wallow for a while.
We don’t take enough time to wallow. Someone always has it worse. We can always look for the good, but ignoring pain just lets it sneak up on you when you’re not looking. I still cannot listen to the song that was playing in Intensive Care without tears. It came on the radio the other day. It didn’t know better, it wasn’t aware that it shouldn’t have. Oh the tears. Not even crying, no heaving sobs, or gulping breaths, just a silent river of tears that have to take their course and wend their way.
Two years ago Esme ate Foxglove leaves and became incredibly ill. Today she is healthy and happy with a head full of golden curls and an impish grin.
Just as I was frustrated two years ago about the lack of meaning in such a horrible accident, I am frustrated now by the same. There is no greater meaning when bad things happen. There is no personal growth. I have not learned and become a better person for it.
But, that doesn’t mean you can’t create meaning. People shared Esme’s story and maybe one day it will stop another accident happening. I have learned not to fight against my anger and pain, but to let it wash over me. I’d prefer not to have the anger and pain, but hey, you can’t have everything, and they are different with time added to the mix. Those ripples in the pond are becoming smaller with greater gaps in between.
The world keeps turning, children keep doing ridiculously stupid things, we keep doing our best.
And the happiness? The happiness is in the little moments. Morning elbow drops from small people, feeding the birds, making wishes on oak leaves.
Today’s wish will be for more small happinesses. You can keep your flashy ecstasies, I’ll take running through sheets hanging on a line, or watching TV cuddled in front of a roaring fire, or looking for shells on a beach over your big stuff.
Give me small moments, and give me lots of them, and you can have your occasional river of tears.