Birds tweet delightedly and it’s nearing nine o’clock. The loudly ticking clock set between clover flowers painted on the wall reminds me that I’m supposed to be somewhere else, celebrating, milling about a garden full of friends, with the smell of a barbecue in the air and a Valpolicella in my hand.
The light even breathing and occasional sighs beside me remind me that that doesn’t matter. Pining after the tinkle of clinking glasses, of glances to my husband, the man of the moment, beginning his 45th year, of the chill in the air that makes me wonder is it time to put on my jacket is a shallow, ungrateful thing.
What matters most now, what mattered most ever is that breath, the rise and fall of the little chest, the flare of the nostrils on the exhale. The fall, the cry, the sudden silence, the Jesus is he ok, the running across the lawn, the scream to my mother in law to phone an ambulance, the eyes rolling back in that little head, the fear, the utter fear and dread of what might possibly be happening, what outcome might result doesn’t matter.
None of it matters. The breathing, the gentle tossing of damp curls on the hospital pillow, the movement of small limbs in a too big bed are all I need.
Each inhalation and exhalation a stepping stone to a doctor’s verdict. Each tick and tock bringing us nearer to an opening of those bright eyes, dark-ringed now and sad-looking, beneath lashes long and dark. Enviable except that envy has no place here. Only hope and gratitude.
Gratitude that come what may we are here together eight hours after those eyes closed, that breath stopped a moment. Hope that this was the worst time. Hope that tantrums, cheeky faces and boldness will continue.
The birdsong has ended. It is nine. The ticking continues. Breaths rise and fall. Hope lives.
[This post was written while I was in hospital with Number Three who had a trampoline accident on Saturday.]