Saturday, 13 June 2009

Five days of seeing the children only in the mornings and the evenings did sound like a wonderful idea last week. In fact, every day, I was ready to run out of the house to go to BYU’s Writers’ Workshop (I know it has a proper, official name, but it’s just too long) because by the time I had to leave, the kids had drained me of energy and patience. All before noon. I left eagerly too because I knew our wonderful A. loves them, and plays with them more than I do, and that she’d take excellent care of them.
I had a wonderful time at the workshop, learning about the craft and the business of writing, meeting authors, editors and agents who are, after all, people like me. I couldn’t stop taking notes, and trying to take in as much as I could, so that when I got home I could put everything in practice. Usually, my nights never went as I had planned them.
One night, Coco (the dog) was sick, and I had to rush him to the pet ER. Expensive little trip. I came back home just after midnight, and there was no time to write.
Another night the babies weren’t tired. They had missed me so much! And they wanted to play, and usually that means being very obnoxious and mischievous. When someone hits you in the head with a wooden car and then bursts out in laughter, believe me, it’s not funny. So by the time they finally fell asleep, my mood was not one for writing. I did anyway, but let’s just say that the only outcome of that was some very sore wrists for typing so fast. The writing wasn’t that great.
And then tonight, I decided to go to the grocery store to get hot dog buns. I knew it was past 7, and the kids were starving. So was I. But I thought it would be fun to have a mini celebration for having completed soccer camp (Gorgeous) and my “writing camp” like Swan said.
The babies were out of control in the store. After telling El Cangri, “Sit down or you’ll fall,” for the millionth time, I grabbed the strawberries and the buns from the cart and walked to the register by myself, without checking if anyone was following me or not. Swan and Gorgeous were, and Chubbers decided to push the cart. It just so happened that El Cangri was right in front of her, and she ran straight into him. He fell back, hit his head on the floor, and then she also ran over his fingers. I heard him let out a cry, and he didn’t take in a breath. My little darling boy managed to come to me (I was only about five feet away from where he had fell), soundlessly saying “It hurts mami.” He then softly lay on the floor, and he went blue.
Well, in the three seconds that had passed between the moment he fell and the moment he turned blue, millions of thoughts crossed my mind. “Is he having a seizure from the fall?”, “Is he on the floor because he’s having a tantrum?”, “Should I yell for help”, “what’s going to happen if he doesn’t breath right away?” I can’t explain how a mind can hold so many thoughts and feelings and still think about the other three kids and the purse I had dropped beside me without caring where it fell.
I scooped him up, and softly blew on his face, to make him react and take a breath. I whispered, “Breathe (his name here), breathe.” I knew I had to remain calm for his sake, but on the inside I was frantic with terror.
Finally, the color returned to his face and hands, and he was so cold he started shivering.
A cashier asked me if he was OK, and I realized that what for me had been an eternity had only stretched for a couple of minutes at the most.
I held him tightly while I paid, and once in the car, Swan, Gorgeous and I looked at each other, and we didn’t need to say a word. All three of us had seen him, blue on that cold tile floor, and we will never be able to erase that image from our minds.
They’re all sleeping now, and I’ve checked my Cangri so many times I’ve lost count. Being a parent is so scary; nothing prepares you for this.
And then there are the sweet moments. Right before he fell asleep, he was looking at my face very intently. “You have freckles!” He said. And I laughed because I don’t have freckles, but he must have seen something like freckles on my face, and he hugged me and kissed me.
“I like you mom.” He said right before he fell asleep. I like him and his brother and sisters too. Nothing would mean anything without them.

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5 responses to “After the calm, the storm”

  1. Aaaah, I love the BYU thingie. (And yes, the name is far too long!) I didn't get to attend this year as something else came up. I didn't realize you lived near me, Yamille. Fun to find another writer in the area!

  2. Yamile,Que susto lo que paso! Espero que este bien. Y que bueno que hayas disfrutado tu semana en BYU!

  3. Cristina says:

    Pobrecito Joaquin y ya me imagino tu angustia. Yo creo que esos sustos son los que nos hacen envejecer ja ja
    Me alegra que no haya sido nada grave, y que en tus vacaciones tengas mucho tiempo para escribir. Un abrazo con mucho cariño, mi amiga a la distancia! 🙂

  4. Whew…
    what a scary event!
    hope all is well!

    peace to you~

  5. Yadira says:

    Me imagino el susto que llevaste… te entiendo hay momentos asi cuando solo queremos huir de todo… y yo solo tengo dos hijos, no se como lo haces. Que bueno q ya estas con tu esposo y disfrutando del verano!!! saludos!

Yamile Saied Mendez

Yamile (sha-MEE-lay) Saied Méndez is a fútbol-obsessed Argentine-American, Picture Book, Middle Grade, and Young Adult author.

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