Last night, I held baby girl a little tighter, snuggled her a little longer.
Miss C, Nine Months
It was only a brief second. I looked away from her to see her big sisters in the pool. She was carefully confined between me, the well-railed edge of the parent viewing balcony, and a bench behind us. After watching her sister perform a new feat in the water at swim lessons, I looked back down and she was gone.
In the two minutes or less I had my eyes off her, she had crawled over the ledge of the bench and to the top of the full flight of cement stairs. By the time I screamed her name, leaped over the bench and got to her, her hand was out to start the tumble down the stairs.
I scooped her up in my arms, heart racing at the thought of what almost happened, took her back to our spot and kept not only my eyes, but also my hands, on her the rest of the time. When it was time to leave, I shuddered when I saw the rail next to the stairs. The perfect height for her to try to pull up on, yet wide enough for her to slip through when she fell, that rail caused me to realize just how close I had come to losing my sweet baby girl to a headlong tumble down concrete steps. Had she gone for that rail bar instead of the top of the stairs, I would not have gotten to her in time.
Last night I spent much time thanking my Lord for his protection of my daughter. I realized, once again, that no matter how careful are as a parent, there are simply dangers you cannot anticipate, mistakes you will, inadvertently, make.
I remembered the time that Miss M was just a few feet ahead of me in the parking lot of our local grocery store, happily walking to the car. Before I could see what was happening, a car started backing up, almost instantly after turning on their lights. As I screamed her name, I saw the fender bump into her thigh. Thankfully, the driver heard me and stopped, and Miss M was none the wiser. Still, her little life flashed before my eyes.
Each of these times, I am reminded that life is but a vapor. We really don't know how long we have these precious children in our lives. We must make the most of every moment, because before we know it, it will be gone. They will be gone or grown, and all we will have are our memories.