Tuesday, October 9, 2012

COTA 2012.

All day she was so amazing, so strong. All day I saw her talking to kids she didn't know, had no context for. All day I saw her running, watching, wanting, getting. My Penelope is impossibly small. I've said it before and I'll say it again: She is the littlest elf. The smallest girl in the room and all day I would catch glimpses of her darting in and out of tents, up and down playground slides. She yelped and smiled and laughed and at times, put on a damn good show.

"Gimme a dollar, mum. Let me borrow one." I heard it a thousand times and a thousand times I handed over the buck so unbelievably happy she was so independent! Her magical face and gangly limbs moved a million miles an hour and had more unadulterated fun than I had ever seen her have in one day.

Then she fell in the mud puddle. I wasn't there but she was in the best of hands.... still, the tension pulled taut like a guide wire and I felt the cracks begin to show themselves in her most magical of days.

As she shook and cried and stayed safe in my dear friend's arms, I RAN to the car to grab a towel (YES! I HAD A FRIGGIN TOWEL IN THE CAR!) and a change of clothes. I ran so fast. Oh my god did I run fast.

And she was OK again. I mean, she was really OK. The moment was most certainly not awesome for her, but she recovered. She dried (literally) off her wings and resumed flight. I kept flashing back to our trip to Niagara Falls and I could not believe this was the same girl.

I was light. I was happy. I realize now just how much power my babies have over me. Their joy is everything, their pain is infinite.

And then I heard it. It was the end of the day, the last act was on stage and I was.. I don't even remember who I was with! I just remember hearing my name being said by the MC of the day's festivities. "Michele OBrien. We have Penelope. She's here digging Rhett Miller and she wants you to join her."

At once all of my limbs were moving forward. I'm sure I looked like Scooby Doo scrambling after Shaggy (because that's how it felt) and I ran maybe ten steps to where she was. It felt like 26.2 miles.

Her whole body was tucked onto the seat of a folding chair in front of the sound mixing board and it was trembling like her whole self was made of jello that had been left out in a hurricane.

She scrambled into my lap and instantly I was sobbing with her. She'd had enough. She'd accomplished so much that day, done so many things I'd never seen her do before. Recover and shift and decide and move on... She'd had it and we cried and cried and cried.

In my 12+ plus years of being a mother, this was my first "lost kid" episode and my guts still haven't recovered from the fact that sweet, little PJ had to be the one. My drive and determination to keep that kid safe is mind-blowing. Why her?! I was terrified for her. I'm sure that's why I was crying, too. I can relate so deeply to how fucked up things get for her in her mind. I felt like a failure, a total loser. And then she stopped crying and we looked at each other and she told me she was glad I found her.

As I carried her back to our table so we could pack up to go I realized that this fragile little girl had done her absolute best. That she owned her day till she couldn't. And when she couldn't, she did precisely what I had always told her to do: She went to a central location and didn't' move. She found a woman to talk to. She told her her name and her mother's name. And I came to get her. The End.

It was a glorious day. I suspect there will be more of them.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You send me to bed with a smile on my mouth and tears in my eyes! Your family amazes me always.