Mia and I just got back from the pediatrician (fourth time in two weeks, I am so over this guy I cannot even tell you). Mia has a runny nose and a cough, but that is not why we went. No, we went because Mia has a very stupid mommy.
I've been rearranging and cleaning out a closet in the basement, and this morning Mia wanted to play in that room, so I let her wander around while I did some more work on the closet. I didn't really notice that she had wiggled around to stand in front of me until a pile of old video tapes and big, heavy books from the top shelf started falling and landing on her head.
She's ok. She cried for a minute and then jumped off my lap and dragged me back into the room so she could show me what had happened, and then we played with blocks and took our morning walk. She has a couple of nice bruises on her forehead, but is unhurt. I knew she was fine, but took her to the doctor just to be sure.
I'm not ok. I held it together long enough to be sure she was fine and then lost it. Not because she was hurt, because I knew she really wasn't, but because I feel like such a failure. I feel like I should have realized the danger and kept her away, like I should have been smarter than that, like I should have been able to catch everything that fell and stop it from hitting her.
I cannot begin to count the number of times I have banged Mia's head or leg or arm into something, the number of times I have knocked her down or stepped on her or scratched or pinched her. As careful as I try to be with her, it seems like every time my attention wavers for a split second I fail in some minor way to protect her. I am scared that I am never going to get any better at this, that my instincts are never going to be strong enough to see the danger and stop it before it happens, that I will never be able to keep her safe enough, that someday she will be seriously hurt and it will be my fault.
I think I will see those boxes and books falling on her for the rest of my life, and I just wish like hell I knew how to make sure that it will be the worst scene I have to replay in my personal Guilt Cinema, and I am terrified to think that it won't be.