I set my knife down to turn around and look at something that Eric was showing me, but I turned at just the right moment to see Cordelia wipe out. Mid-twirl her body escaped her and that sweet face smacked into the floor, hard. I watched it from across the room and knew it wasn't going to be good. As someone who still has one child in a cast I am incredibly jittery about broken bones. I scooped Cordelia into my arms in a flash, but as I somehow made it from counter to child I remember thinking please-please no broken bones. I folded her small body into my arms and we made our way to a chair in the living room for a closer look. No broken bones, but a gusher of a bloody nose.
Eric and I calmly stepped into action in that beautiful way that only parents can. We attended to her nose and the accompanying fear of seeing a lot of her own blood. Once Cordelia was mostly under control Eric snuggled Elise who was also upset by the situation. I held Cordelia in my arms, pinching her nose until the blood began to clot and the bleeding stopped.
Eric set Elise down to give the onion in the skillet a stir and turn off the heat. I asked Cordelia if she had blood in her mouth and she opened for me to take a look. Elise had come in for a closet look too and then smacked her head into the credenza as she leaned in to see.
Eric scooped her up again and was quick to distract her as it wasn't much of a bump, just enough to produce tears. While each of is held a crying kid in our arms we exchanged a look. A kind of look that says so many things all at once: can you believe this, that was close, parenting is nuts, everything ok?---then we smiled. I mean what else can you do?
Once the girls were back to normal a few moments later I went back to dinner prep and life resumed as normal. We ate our dinner and enjoyed some good family time before putting the girls to bed.
Later that night, after the girls had been asleep for a bit Eric and I heard Elise crying from a bad dream. I went up to their room and tucked Elise back in, her eyelids heavy. I sang to her and she sang along until she drifted off, holding my hand. When I got up to leave I looked at our sleeping daughters, watching them breathe peacefully and I was reminded that this is the most important thing that Eric and I will ever do. I suppose that bloody noses and broken arms are good in their own way; teaching the girls to be strong while simultaneously reminding us that life is fraught with peril. Somehow a balance is struck and we carry on, linked more closely together than words can express.