And Then Time Stood Still

Isabella fell down the steps tonight.

I knew this day would come some time. You don’t want it to. You pray that it never does. But every parent out there tells you it will happen and then they tell you what it was like when it happened to their child. In your mind you think, nah, I’m more careful than that. We take every precaution. No way will my kid tumble down the stairs.

And then she does.

It happened just before dinner. Munchkin and I were playing with her sand box out on the deck. She was having a great time grabbing a fist full of sand and dumping it out. CJ was inside getting dinner ready and Samson was in with him. CJ had set up the baby gate to block the stairs. We don’t always do this now as she’s getting older and better at going up and down. She also knows to stop at the top and wait for mommy or daddy to help her.

Isabella asked to go down the stairs because she wanted to see the bird bath. I told her no, that she had to wait until after dinner. Then Samson came to the back door wanting out, so I opened it for him. He ran to the steps and I had to remove the baby gate. As I was setting it aside, Isabella ran over there. I told her to be careful and she stopped. I was just turning around to go back over when out of the corner of my eye I saw it.

She reached forward with her right foot to take a step down. She was holding on to the railing like always but somehow lost her balance and tumbled forward. I lurched forward in an attempt to grab her but there was no way.

And time slowed waaaaay down. I stood there at the top, helpless, watching her tumble sideways down one step and then the next. I could see each part of her body moving and where it landed. I could tell that when she got to the bottom, she would land on her feet and then roll on to her side. She was like a ragdoll as she rolled down – almost inhuman and limp. There was no sound. No noise from nature. No screams from her. No nothing.

Just slowness and silence.

It scared the crap out of me.

As soon as she got to the bottom, time righted itself and she started screaming. I sprinted down and scooped her up in my arms having already determined nothing was broken. As I comforted her I checked every part of her body and all seemed to be in tact. She was more scared than anything. I got her to calm down and asked her how each part of her felt, starting with her head. Does your head hurt? I asked. No. Do your arms hurt? No. And so on until I knew she was fine.

Then the guilt came over me. How could I have let this happen? What if she had broken her neck? What if she had died? I should have been more careful. I shouldn’t have looked away. I shouldn’t have moved the gate. I was “shoulding” all over myself. But I just had to stop and remember that it happens. It’s happened to many parents and in the end, my little girl was just fine. It was a tough lesson to learn but I guess she’s not as grown up as she seems. CJ and I talk about this – how she seems so much older than she is because she carries on normal conversations and knows hundreds of words and can count to 20 and recite the alphabet. But she’s still just 20 months.

She’s in bed now and has forgotten about the whole thing. I will never forget. In fact I’ll replay it in my mind a hundred times.

She is such a precious gift to us. Thank God nothing serious happened. I’ve always said that Isabella’s big brother/sister (Angel – the one we miscarried) is up in heaven looking out for her. Thanks Angel for taking care of your little sister tonight.

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