Beloved and i were awakened at midnight by the sounds of barking dogs and a whimpering elissa, who showed up, out of the blue, limping and teary, with an outlandish tale of slipping on the ice and breakng her foot.
the radar that has functioned without fail since katie drew her first breath blipped a few times... from the comfort of my covers, i smelled a rat. Beloved of course, saw the opportunity to play Daddy, a much more comforting role than the one i would've played had it been one of my own brood who so rudely interrupted my sleep. the first unwritten rule of the house is - Dont Wake Mommy Up. if one must wake Mommy up, there'd be better be blood involved. i have to say im proud that my kids therefore tend to shy away from activities in which blood is bound to be involved. no one wants to wake up Mommy. the wrath of god, as katie likes to say, IS preferable.
it is not that i am without kindness or empathy, or even that i lack the ability to spring immediately into action, if that indeed is what's demanded. it's that from their earliest years i felt the need to impress on my children that i, unlike many parents they may meet, have needs. the first need is for a decent amount of sleep. once we were beyond the stage where they needed to eat every few hours, i began to make it clear that the reason they needed to go to bed when they did and to stay in those beds was not primarily for their benefit - it was for MINE. whether or not they got the sleep they needed wasn't my main concern - it was whether or not i was going to get the sleep *I* needed.
consequently, even in their teen years, i can count exactly once when i was awakened by one of my three older children in some kind of trouble. elissa, on the other hand, does it routinely enough to annoy the shit out of me. and while Beloved might share my feelings, in general, he lacks the ability to take any definitive action that might stop her midnight visits - like installing a deadbolt.
so when she came limping and whimpering in at midnight, amid a raucous chorus of hounds, i was less than sympathetic. did you ask her what the fuck she was doing here at this hour, i hissed at Beloved, when he finally returned to bed.
no, he said, in that tone of hurt bewilderment. she's hurt. she's upset. she needs her daddy.
the lateness of the hour, coupled with my new awareness from a few days ago (see food for a fight) sent me fuming back to sleep. we were again awakened at five am by a plaintive little voice calling "Dad?"
there's no doubt that elissa is in serious pain. i did, when i got up, feel sorry for her. i looked at her foot, which was puffy and red. i started the car, i put down icemelt while Beloved made appropriate daddy-noises. but when i asked her how it happened, how she'd come to slip and injure herself in such a funny place for a fall, she confessed she'd kicked a wall. score one for the mamma-radar, i thought.
as they drove off for the hospital, i reached for Louise Hay's You Can Heal Your Life. i read the entries for foot problems, ankles, bone problems and fractures. i wonder what goddess appears in the guise of querolous, troubled, young women. i think i am about to find out.
and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.