It was 5:48 p.m. when we pulled into the driveway. We had just dropped off my oldest daughter at dance class; the sun was warm and the air was comfortable. We lingered outside for a few minutes waiting for Dad to get home … the baby studied the cats, and my middle daughter chattered away … then suddenly, I noticed her lip was an interesting shade of purple and dark red … it was puffy too. And it looked sore.
“Oh my gosh, Madi, what happened to your lip?”
“I bumped it on someone’s head in gym today when we were playing chicken tag.”
The image flashed through my mind of my sweet five-year-old and a classmate colliding …
I pried her for more details … “Did you cry? Was the other child hurt too? Who helped you clean up your lip?”
Her answers were matter-of-fact, but my heart ached a little …
I … wasn’t … there.
I wasn’t with my daughter when she got hurt.
I wasn’t there to comfort her.
I wasn’t there to wipe her tears.
I … missed … it all …
and the part that REALLY got me …
it was 5:48 p.m., and this was the first time I noticed her lip … she had been home with me for more than two hours already, and this was the first time I looked at her … I mean REALLY looked at her … the first time I stopped and studied her little face.
We had all had a snack together, before heading outside to enjoy a lovely fall afternoon. We toured the yard, and I pushed them all on the swings. The littlest played on the trampoline and Mackenzie and I kicked a soccer ball around. After awhile, I snuck in the house to finish preparing an early supper (so we could be at dance on time). We ate together, and even went into the dance centre for a few minutes to ensure Mackenzie was ready.
In all of that time, I never LOOKED at my daughter … I never LOOKED at my daughter close enough to see her wounded lip … I HAD asked her a few questions about her day, but the story of the crash never came out …
And my heart ached a little, because I missed seeing the injury, I missed the crash itself, I missed comforting her, I missed SO MUCH in just one small day of my daughter being at school … but even when she was WITH ME, I missed it.
And it turns out, I ALSO missed a new gap between my oldest daughter’s teeth … apparently, she lost a tooth at school yesterday (it IS one of many, but she didn’t tell me until this morning) … yesterday was a big day for the Hintzs, apparently, and I … missed … it … all.