Friday, March 21, 2008

Sibling Survival Guide

It started out as peals of laughter. Chris rescued Anna and held her as she screamed and slowly began to calm down. I screamed, "Oh my God!," a giggle in my throat, as I ran to Ben and sat with him on the floor, holding him and whispering to him.

"It's a good thing he's two and doesn't know any better."

And those showers of laughter became streams of tears as the enormity of the situation settled in my heart, the "what ifs" running through my head.

I kept thinking of those poor families who are struck with tragedy, the lies created to cover up the unfortunate circumstance of a child's death, so Child #1 will not be forever traumatized by the horrible fact that he caused the death of Child #2.

I had left Anna on her belly on the living room floor. She was playing with Ben's trains. Ben was bouncing off the walls, playing with balls and trucks and bead-and-wires. I went in the kitchen to check on the baking bread and the simmering beef roast.

When I had a moment, I walked through the living room to push the high chair back in place. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Anna's legs pumping up and down on the floor and Ben on his belly.

Chris and I saw it at the same time we heard stifled screams.

Ben had pulled a blanket over Anna's head and then proceeded to roll back and forth over the lump he created.

Silence. Let's just take a moment to hear the frogs croak and the crickets chirp.

Okay. Everyone is okay. No one is hurt. My mother says that God must have planned on us being close by when that happened so we could see it and stop it before tragedy struck.


They love each other still.

Wednesday afternoon, I filmed a short video of Ben and Anna on the floor, talking to each other. It was so precious. About a minute into filming, Ben stood up, and I figured he had lost interest. I pressed the stop button, and a ball flew by my head in the next second. It hit its target: Anna's face.

A few minutes later, Ben went "way back" for a pass, and he stepped on her fingers.

Every day I feel a mix of worry and wonder. I love watching them one-on-one and together. They fascinate me. I can't believe I ever found the adult world as interesting, as delightful, as all-consumingly heart-wrenching as being "Mommy" to these two children.