Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Day After

A slightly bruised up nose but otherwise good as new. She's long forgotten while I tear up just thinking about it.

Worst day

Most days are neither good nor bad, glorious nor horrific. Most days pass in a semi blur of routine and happenstance. Yesterday was hands down my worst day as a mom.

It made me think of other worst days of my life. When I was little (6ish maybe?) and we awoke in the middle of the night to a scary drunk guy kicking on our front door yelling obscenities. The worst of it was not this random dude threatening to break in but the look of complete terror on my mom's face as she held us close - single mom of two young girls. We huddled in the darkness of her bedroom in the back of the house as she phoned the police and tried to enlist their help ("sorry lady, we got real emergencies to deal with here"). I knew at that moment for the first time in my short life that my mom could not protect us - that she too was vulnerable and that my childhood would soon end.

The next most memorable involved my first broken heart. The day I found out my love, the first real one at 14 years old (he was 16, a popular school DJ and bad boy) had been cheating on me with my best friend - freckly, red headed cheerleader goodie two shoes lived across the street from me Julie. Classic betrayal. A young heart torn by the loss of boyfriend and best friend in the same cataclysmic instant. Many many many tears.

The most recent was the day I said goodbye to my dying friend Joni. The conversation we shared with a clear understanding that we would never see or talk to one another again paints grey a tiny part of my every day since.

So, yesterday. It started out as routine as any other. I took Valen with the umbrella stroller and Utta for a spin around the lake across the street. Multi-tasking as all moms do, Utta got a good morning workout and the baby entertained by the scenery, fresh air, and passerbys to shout out "Hola! Hola! Hola!".

We finished the loop and started the return for home. I stopped at the crosswalk waiting for the green light and white man walking sign. I'm always extra careful and nervous frankly crossing Libertador - either from our side or from the park back over. Its a double-wide busy street with cars zooming in both directions. People run red lights all the time and never look to the right to check if a pregnant mother with infant and a dog might be crossing.

The white walker blinked on and I lowered the strollers' front two wheels down from the high curb to the cobblestone below. (many parts of Buenos Aires are still paved in cobblestone - Libertador is not but for some reason on this stretch of the street, there is a 4 foot wide lane of cobblestone to cross before the asphalt begins) The stroller wheels stuck in the cobblestone for a split second and the rear of the stroller lifted up in the air a few inches. My hands were well position on the handles of the stroller but just at that moment Utta charged ahead to cross the street - ahead of us but attached to the left stroller handle via her leash. I tried to hold it down but the forward yank caught me offguard. Utta continued ahead taking the stroller handles with her as the baby (buckled in) catapulted forward face down in the asphalt. Just like in the movies- yes, "it all happened so fast".

I immediately tried to lift the stroller up off the street (at this point face down with my 15 month old inside) - at the same time I couldn't just unleash Utta as she would surely jet into the oncoming lanes of traffic. With all this swirling in my panic stricken mind, I tugged Utta's leash back with my left hand and tried to lift the stroller and baby with my right. Just at that moment, a car stopped and two young men jumped out to assist me. They helped me right the stroller and I immediately pulled a screaming and bloodied little baby into my arms. There was a lot of blood. It streamed out of her nose and seemed to come from her mouth too. Her face was dirty from street soot and she looked scared as hell. Blood smeared my shoulder and arms as I tried to wipe away and access her wounds. The assists asked me if I needed anything else, if I knew that Clinica Trinidad was just one block away. Shaken, I thanked them but said I could handle it from there. Obviously I couldn't handle it but they left anyway. Paula, the maid who brings baby Joaquin (born on the same day as Valentina) to our neighborhood playground everyday was standing on the other side of the street with Joaquin in her arms and witnessed the whole ordeal. She crossed over to us quickly and offered to help bring us home. I let her take the stroller back across Libertador while I carried Valen in one arm and led Utta with the other. When we arrived at the other side, Valen looked at her friend and said through teary eyes and bloody boogers "Hola Joaquin!" and then laid her head on my shoulder. I knew then that she would be ok but I just sobbed.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Hello 2010

My friend Tara reminded me recently of an apt quote "The road to hell is paved with good intentions" for the close of 2009. I really did intend to make at least a few posts in December but obviously failed. I had plenty to write about. The completion of November's novel writing month - which produced 15,000 of my own words, a start but not the whole novel. Then my first "mommycation" a 5 day retreat to a lux hotel called the Llao Llao in Bariloche, Patagonia - alone. I used to take solo vacations every year to a hippy spa in the hills outside of Guadalajara called Rio Caliente. It was something I always looked forward to and went every year for nearly 7 years. I thought those days were long gone with the birth of Valentina but Hugh insisted. Yes, he deserves the Daddy of The Year Award and all my mommy friends were pea green with envy.

December passed quickly in a blur of end of year dinner parties. I brought Sour Chickpeas and chicken tandoori to more than one potluck event. Mostly, I endured nausea and tried to nap when Valen did. The news of baby number 2 took us by surprise but in a good way.

This year we'll visit family and friends in Dallas/San Francisco from late February through mid March. Then, come August, we'll welcome a Leo to the family and in November we'll celebrate 10 years of marriage. Whew, I better get another nap in....