There are times when great tragedy reminds us of what we already know. That we are blessed, deeply - and we vow never to forget, but then we do. The stories fade from the news. The terror fades from our hearts. We become annoyed once more with the whining and neediness and general wearing down that our loves do on a daily basis. We forget how fragile life is, and how cruel the world can be.
Until something reminds us, and we start at the beginning again.
The other day Avery was laying on the floor beside me while Lucas and I looked at a picture album. He moved, just barely, and knocked down his vacuum. It tumbled, so slow yet so fast, straight towards her little head. Landed with a heavy thump, not one inch from her unfazed face. And I cannot tell you the terror that enters your heart when you see the world nearly take your baby before your eyes, but it's a feeling I've known before.
When Lucas was maybe six months old, my mother took him for a walk. She left him for a moment to open the door, and from the couch I watched as the stroller rolled backwards down the concrete steps and fell back with that same terrible thud. It was silent save my screaming. He wasn't crying. Horrified and imagining the worst, I ran outside, only to find him staring up at the trees, unhurt and unfazed.
I remember the feeling well, a mixture of sickness and relief and gratitude. A promise made in my heart to never forget how close I came to losing him. A promise to be grateful for every day, every moment - even the bad ones.
Those experiences, sickening and scary as they were, have truly made me more grateful. I think of those moments sometimes, when we're playing simple games or reading books or any number of ordinary things, and that gratitude washes over me again. I think of those moments sometimes, when they are crying or whining or not eating or not sleeping, and I am reminded to be patient. And when I don't think of those moments - when my back is turned, when I slip into complacency - I am grateful still.
When only angels are watching my loves...goddamn, am I grateful they're watching.