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Monday, June 3, 2013

Break a Leg

I closed the refrigerator door too hard.  The magnet, part of a "package" from the photographer who shot the girls' dance pictures, slid off the door and broke.  Emma's leg was severed just above the knee.  Bad omen, that, just a week before her big dance recital.



When she came into my office and saw it lying on my desk she gave me a disappointed inquiring look, and I shook my head and said, "Sorry, Em, I knocked it off the fridge.  I have to find some glue and put it back together."


The following week her mother took her to the dress rehearsal.  Dress rehearsals always run long.  I honestly didn't expect them back for five hours, and in fact, I think they arrived just shy of that at four and a half hours.  Despite the time, though, both were animated.  


Leslie was gushing.  Apparently strides were made.  The performance was spectacular.  I would be SO impressed. Emma fell three times during acro...it didn't even matter because the rest was SO GOOD.  And so on.


I was dutifully intrigued.  And not even dutifully so much as genuinely.  I wanted to see the show.  Leslie's a tough sell.  If she thought the dances (Jazz/ballet/contemporary/acro) were good...certainly she was the "dance mom" of our family.


The next day was the recital.  I got home a little early.  They'd ordered pizza so we could eat and run.  The recital didn't start until 7, but Emma had to be there early, and I really only had about a half hour to eat before I needed to hop in the car and drive Lily to the performance.  Leslie took Emma within ten minutes of my arrival, and Leslie's parents soon followed to go save seats.  


Lily looked tired.  Lily looked more than tired, she looked drained.  She walked over to me and put her head down on my chest as I sat eating my pizza.  And...just stayed like that.  For her to initiate any sort of snuggle is rare.  For her to maintain it almost always means she's sick.  She broke away from me after about five minutes to sit down at the chair next to mine at the table.  She climbed into it and briefly put her head down on the table.


"Are you okay, Lil?"  No response.  A response is 50/50 anyway, so I didn't read too much into it.  I fired a text off to Leslie, who was already at the auditorium.



It was 6:21.  I was going to leave the house by 6:30 in order to get to the auditorium by 6:40.  The doors didn't even open until 6:30, but it gets pretty full in the parking lot, and although Lily is not a spectacular waiter...better not to have to walk/carry her from a half mile away than to suffer a little whining inside the auditorium, and the recital started at 7:00.

Lily loves the recitals.  We have the last two years recitals on DVD, and we watch them probably twice a day every day.  They are called Pink and Purple (for the color of the graphics on the outside of the DVD) and Lily knows all the dancers' names and sings along with the songs.  I knew once the show started she'd be fine, I just wanted to see if I could get her a little more comfortable.


I checked her back and she felt cool.  But sometimes she perks up if she has a little dose of Tylenol in her to...dampen...whatever it is that's making her feel "off".  We give her Tylenol with a syringe...just squirt it into her mouth and she swallows it pretty easily.  The trick though, is to get that first taste.  Once she does, she usually drinks it out of the syringe instead of making you put it in her cheek to swallow.  


She really fought me, ducking her head away, pushing the syringe.  "Lily, this is going to make you feel better, baby.  You just need to take the medicine."  She wasn't buying it.  I finally held her arms and made her take it.  One long squirt and she swallowed it and it was done.  Or was it?


Because the next moment she was throwing it up, throwing it all up and not just the Tylenol  but the Tylenol  the raspberry ice drink, and the pizza, all mixed together...on her shirt, on the carpet, on the couch, on me.  And it really was all my fault.


At 6:34 I texted Leslie to tell her that Lily threw up.  I was so crestfallen...I really really did not want to miss this recital, not any part of it.  I was dashing from sink to Lily.  Lily remained remarkably still while I sprinted back and forth trying to clean the couch, the carpet, and her.  I finally cleaned enough that I needed to get her in the bath.  I ran upstairs and started the water and ran back downstairs to get Lily.  We stripped off her clothes and I wadded them into a ball outside the bathroom.  


"I'm like The Wolf from Pulp Fiction, Lily.  We'll get you cleaned up right away."  

I think fast, I talk fast and I need you guys to act fast if you wanna get out of this. So, pretty please... with sugar on top. Clean the fucking car.
But unlike Winston Wolfe, my brain jammed on the topic of what to do with Lily once she was clean.  Was she sick?  She wasn't acting it now.  Put her jammies on her and wait for the sitter?  Take her to the recital?  It was six of one and a half dozen of the other...or as my wife used to say, "six half dozen of the other."  I was stuck in a loop.  I called Leslie.  

"What should I do?"


"Just get her here and we can figure it out later."


Fair enough.  That was all it took.  Whatever the loop was, she nudged me out of my ineffective orbit and all the pieces started falling into place:  Lily washed and clean, new clothes on, my clothes stripped off and me redressed, dirty clothes soaking in the washing machine, couch cleaned, carpet sprayed and wiped.


At 6:51, 17 minutes after "the mess" I texted Leslie to tell her I was "Just leaving".  Then I called and told her to have one of the grandparents meet me outside to take Lily so I could park the car.  I was sweating from stress and exertion, but on my way. 


At 7:00 Leslie told me that the lights were dark but they hadn't started the opening number yet...but I was pulling into the parking lot, my dad was out front waiting.  I slowed to a stop in front of him and got out of the car, walking around to Lily's side to unbuckle her and hand her over to Papa.  He took her in as I drove away to find a spot.


I caught a break and found a parking spot relatively close and hurried into the building, catching Lily and Papa in the hall after producing my ticket at the entry and hurrying to catch up.  We entered the auditorium.  It was still dark, and my eyes adjusted just quickly enough to dodge a couple chairs that had been placed to block two of the rows near the back that the camera crew was using to film the recital.


I was still sweating, but the auditorium was cool, and I was inside, and we weren't late.  The show hadn't started.


What a show!  She was great.  I'm sure the other kids were too, but I couldn't take my eyes off her.  She glowed...she emoted...she danced so well.  And I don't know shit about dancing, but Emma has something when she's on stage.  She's captivating.  Meh...I'm just her dad, but she seemed so ON that night.


I took Lily home to the sitter midway through the recital when there was a big break between Emma's dances.  She was back to normal, happy Lily.  I got back in plenty of time to watch the rest.  It was beautiful.  I was elated.  I hadn't missed it.   


Signs can be interpreted so many different ways.  I wrote a post about it once on Childswork.  The severed limb from the kitchen magnet likeness of Emma?  I guess that was just the universe telling her to "break a leg".



24 comments:

  1. Yay, Emma! She looks so beautiful.

    And poor Lily. But good job, you. The Wolf would be proud of you for your quick cleanup job.

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    1. I think she was just sleepy. And then dad had to go and force feed her medicine. Poor Lily, indeed!

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  2. My son too hates taking medicine. I literally have to call in reinforcements just to get meds into him. But I'm glad that you made it to the recital on time, and that it went well.

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    1. Lily actually takes medicine very well, typically. But I think my haste and stress set me up for failure.

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  3. You just won Dad of the Century for your successful performance! I bow in homage to you. As one whose dad missed nearly all her recitals (there weren't THAT many and he was an OBGYN usually on call delivering babies), the effort you went to, the genuine commitment and desire to be there? Kinda made me a little teary. (Damn you for that!)

    Also? Emma is so incredibly beautiful; I hope you have a really intimidating shotgun or something for when the boys start coming around.

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    1. Leslie won't let me get a shotgun, so I'm just going to have to have a bat or something handy.

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  4. Good for you. I am shamefully cautious with my son. I wonder how many moments I have missed, due to my own anxiety. Good for you, and excellent for your girl.

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    1. No fever...she loves the recitals...I just wanted to make her comfortable (even if I had to torture her to do it (irony much?))

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  5. She looks gorgeous, Jim. Good job all around.

    btw, I once dosed Morgan with Motrin so that I could be at Thomas' ring ceremony when we were in college. His fever went away pretty fast, attitude didn't, lol. Still worth it.

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  6. emma is a beauty - an absolute beauty!

    what an adventured filled evening - thankfully all turned out well in the end! glad lily got to experience some of it, and i'm sure she will add the new tape to her collection!

    <3

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    1. She TOTALLY will add this tape to her collection. (when it comes in a couple months.)

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  7. Congratulations to Emma! I was on the edge of my seat, I tells ya. I was all, "Get to the recital, Jim! Get to the recital!" And you did and it was fabulous and I'm left feeling happy and relaxed. So glad it turned out well.

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    1. I was hoping to set up some tension and foreboding with the whole broken magnet leg thing...does she get hurt? does she fall? Does Jim not make it?

      The benefit of knowing how a story ends is that you can look for ways to make it more interesting when you retell it and it's still 100% true!

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  8. glad you made it see Emma, she looks gorgeous! Glad Lily wasn't sick too!

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  9. Emma looks like a little lady!! Ahhh so cute!

    Also its always a tad hilarious to me when I am getting too many hugs and my first response is "Shit, this is bad, kidlet is definitely not feeling well." :)

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    1. that's because she IS a little lady. ;)

      yup. my kid loves me...what's going on?

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  10. I could not read this fast enough as I was cheering for you hoping you and Lily would get to go to the recital and get there in time! Wonder what color this DVD will be! :)

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    1. We've been calling it "Green" just to get her used to the idea, but she'll rename it when she see it, doubtless.

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  11. I love everything about this except for the puke part. You know I'm not fond of that. And Emma is just beautiful! Tell her 'way to go' from me, would you?

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  12. She looks gorgeous! Also, I'm never going to be able to watch Pulp Fiction again without thinking about you. I don't know how I feel about this.

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