Yesterday I was weeding the flower bed; Elle was picking up browned leaves and dropping them in a grocery sack. I jerked my head up at the sound of an earsplitting crack, swiveling in my daughter's direction just in time to see a heavy branch shattering on and around her.
She was balled up with her head tucked to her knees, crying. I was so thankful she was crying.
Elle's three. She's just shy of twenty-five pounds. I weighed that branch at thirty-five pounds, measured it at a sixteen inch circumference (19.5 inches in the thicker places). You can see the break near the top of one of our towering oaks in the front lawn; I'm estimating the branch fell a good forty-five to fifty feet.
Perhaps the branch was already in pieces, and only a smaller piece hit her. Perhaps the branch only grazed her. Or perhaps it fell at such an angle that the ground absorbed most of the impact before the branch made contact with her little body. In any case, she just had a small abrasion on her back (similar to skinning one's knee on asphalt), and a large red area spanning her entire back, which has now shrunk to small bruises. She was wearing a terry jacket over her shirt, and I'm guessing the double layers of clothing spared her skin a bit.
I think I spent most of yesterday operating in an emotionally distant mode. It helps me reason clearly in a potential crisis, I suppose. But at the end of the day, when I thought surely I was fine, I found Todd holding on to me while I cried.
I know what could have happened. And I know that it didn't. And for that I am very, very thankful.