This evening I had my scariest moment as a parent.
Gretchen has been getting really good at rolling back to tummy, and can scoot herself 360 degrees on her back when the mood strikes her. Today she proved just how fast she can move.
I was packing up our bags to head to Gramma's (where the central air lives) and put Gretchen in the middle of my bed, as I always do when I'm getting things ready to go. I left the room to grab some things from the den and heard a surround sound THUD from down the hall and through the baby monitor in the office next to me.
I immediately knew what had happened.
I literally threw everything I was holding and ran to the bedroom to find my poor little babe on the floor beside our bed. She was on her belly, holding her head up high and crying.
I felt her little body, picked her up and hugged her to my chest. I'm sorry, baby. Mama's sorry. I love you. I'm sorry! I examined her all over to make sure she was alright as my heart stuck in my throat and tears came to my eyes.
She stopped crying less than a minute later, nuzzling into my neck -- already over it. I, however, was still traumatized. Images of broken bones and head injuries flooding my mind. I felt like such a terrible parent. I'd heard a million stories about babies falling off of beds and everyone says, "it happens to the best of us" but I still felt miserable. Almost embarrassed about what I'd let happen. Thankfully, she's a resilient little babe & no worse for the wear.
I called Ryan at work to tell him what I'd done. I felt so guilty. How could I have left her like that when she trusts me? She's completely fine, but the guilt is heavy.
Hours later, I'm at my Gramma's & Gretchen is sleeping in my bed in the spare room with a buffer of throw pillows at the edge of the bed. Live it, learn it.
I suppose I will try to look at the positive side of things -- Gretchen is getting so big & strong & mobile! She rolls! Quickly, it would seem! She's almost outgrown her bouncy chair & isn't impressed by her swing anymore. She chats to me all day and yesterday we swore we heard the 'da' sound come from her sweet little mouth.
My little girl is five months old and I sometimes pine for the newborn days (before she was able to throw herself from high surfaces causing me to feel like the world's worst parent). However, I must say that five months is also an incredibly fun age. It's incredible how fast she's learning, how active and curious her little mind is. I'm hanging on to her baby days but each time I look at her I swear she looks more and more like a little kid.
I love that little girl with everything I've got. I know that I will want to protect her forever and that it won't be possible, but I'll try my damnedest. I'll always be there for her, to quite literally pick her up when she falls. I know I won't always be able to catch her, but she's my girl and I can try.
Someday I will tell her the story about how she fell and she say "it happens to the best of us."
And she'll be right.