In the midst of an ordinary Tuesday afternoon, the girls and I had a terrible scare today. We were visiting a friend's house for the first time, and being given the tour of the place. We were upstairs admiring her baby girl's beautiful pink and brown nursery when my girls decided it was time to head back downstairs. The stairs were a little scary, from a mommy standpoint - narrow, with no rail and a turn in the middle. But they were holding hands, Milly is generally good with stairs, and I knew that Rachael would help her down.
I watched in horror as Milly's foot missed the very first step, and she started to fall. Rachael held true to her word and didn't let go - and she fell right behind her. I was too far away to do a thing about it, couldn't possibly reach them fast enough to catch either one, and probably would have fallen myself if I'd tried. All I could do is stand watch, terrified, as Rachael careened headfirst down the stairs, around the turn, and finally caught herself (albeit upside down) about 2/3 of the way down. Milly didn't fare as well...she tumbled head over little heels, around the turn, and then...instead of falling straight down the stairs, she pitched over the side of the stairs, still about four feet off the ground, and crashed to the floor below.
I ran down the stairs as quickly as I could after them. I think I screamed, but I may have imagined it - I can't imagine that I could have squeaked out a sound. Rachael was blocking my way to Milly, still holding herself upside down. I picked her up, shaking and crying, and hustled her the rest of the way down. Grabbed Milly, who was crying loudly on top of the pile of toys on which she had fallen. Thank goodness they were there! There were a few hard ones in the mix, but a good many stuffed animals as well. Milly was utterly terrified - it was several minutes before I could let go of her to check her out. Remarkably...amazingly...thankfully...she was fine. A bit of a bruise on her forehead, but nothing more. Seeing her fall over the side of the stairs, I was envisioning concussions, knocked out teeth, broken bones. Nope. Just a bruise, and she never once complained of anything hurting. Neither did Rachael - they were just scared. A snack and a drink later, they were both fine and back to playing.
It was undoubtedly one of the scariest moments of my life...if not at the top of the list, then definitely in the top three. And it made me think...these things can happen at any moment, anywhere. Even somewhere we consider as safe as a friend's home. In the blink of an eye, your baby can go from laughing in your arms to falling, falling... Life is so unpredictable, so fragile. And when it comes right down to it, we are utterly powerless to stop these things from happening, to intervene once they've begun. It's my job to protect them, and there was nothing, nothing I could do.
So I'm grateful tonight that it's not just my hands that they have to count on in an emergency. I pray constantly for my girls, and ask God every night to please, just keep them safe. Keep them healthy and keep them safe, because I know there's so very little I can do to influence either of those things. I saw my prayer answered today. It was terrifying, yes...but beautiful in the realization that He honored my request. My girls could both have been hurt badly by their falls, but they weren't. Thank God for holding them in His hands, when my own are so utterly useless.