I have been working on my digital photo organization this past week, and during that process came across some pictures I haven't looked at in a while, and haven't been ready to scrapbook or share. I think I'm ready now.
*warning: deep thoughts ahead*
In May of 2006, when she was 2 years old, Taite fell out of a second story bedroom window, rolled down the slope of our roof, bounced off the hood of my car, and landed in our driveway. I stood in the driveway watching it happen. It was completely surreal...there was no way it could be happening, and yet there it was. And like a nightmare, my feet couldn't move fast enough to stop it. My mind has replayed it a million times.
Taite was upstairs with Kendra, supervised, sitting on her bed, eating jelly beans. I had just come back from the gym and was standing by the driveway, waiting for the house painters to pack up their truck so we could escape the paint stink and go get some dinner. Taite started to jump on the bed, Kendra told her no and reached for her, and Taite lurched away into the window screen, which popped right out. Kendra screamed, I looked up, and there was my baby rolling down the roof.
Thankfully, she only suffered a broken arm, a gash in her chin that required stitches, and a bunch of minor scrapes. Her arm needed surgery to set it, and we spent three days in the hospital. It could have been so much worse. The doctors and EMTs said it was my car that saved her, designed to absorb impact. And it had only been parked there for about 10 minutes when she fell. The grace of that is not lost on me.
So why am I telling you this?
Well, first of all, secure your windows if you have little ones. I was told that falls like this are very common during the warm months - as in more than 4,000 kids are admitted to the ER every year for falling out a window. I am a "good mom" - I buy organic produce, slather my kids with sunscreen, make them wear bike helmets. It never occurred to me that my child could become a safety statistic. If it can happen to my family, it can happen to yours. Take precautions. There are a few different gadgets you can install. I think window stops are the easiest, most economical option - little screw-like things that go on the window track and stop the window from opening more than 4". It's a drag in the hot months to not be able to open the upstairs windows all the way...but it's better than the alternative. If you don't mind the look of bars, you can install window guards on the outside and still be able to open the window all the way.
The second reason I'm sharing this is because I want you to know (and want to remind myself) that it's okay to have pictures and experiences you're not ready to deal with. It's even okay to have pictures you never scrapbook. I have photos of Taite in the hospital that look absolutely horrible and I can't think of any good reason to print those out and put them on a page. She knows the story, she remembers somewhat, and we talk about it sometimes. Since the beginning of time, stories have been passed down verbally; not every story has to be shared in a concrete, visual way to be acknowledged.
What I am ready to do is print the photos of her cast. I can talk about how we fancied it up with my acrylic paints, and how having a cast on her arm did not phase her in the least, and how the same spunk that made her adaptable also got her put in time-out for clobbering her brother with an armful of plaster when she got mad. I can find a portion of this story I am comfortable sharing in my scrapbook, without having to show the photos that make me cringe. There is no right or wrong amount. It's up to me.
Am I sugar-coating it by choosing a positive spin? Being unauthentic? Writing revisionist history? I don't think so. I think focusing on the more positive, lighter aspects tells a story of it's own authenticity in our family: things are what you make of them. An awful thing happened, but it shaped us, and we painted that cast and carried on, and we're okay.