Friday, January 21, 2011

Presenting The De-Icer 4000

Yesterday, in honor of my first post at And Nobody Told Me (thanks to all of you for making it such a success - your comments made my day), my dear sweet hubby took us all out for dinner. One of the wonderful things about being married is getting to share in each others successes and more than myself, I think my family was really proud of me yesterday. I am one lucky lady.

On our way to our destination, I realized that we were going to pass the spot where we had our accident last week. All of a sudden, without me even realizing it, I started to get really, really tense. It was though an invisible hand came swooping down out of the sky and started squeezing my chest. I looked behind at the girls, buckled tightly to their car seats and realized that this was exactly what I was doing when we were hit. So I quickly turned back around to face whatever was coming, head on - but scared out of my wits.

As we got closer to the spot, Inara started chatting. "Mama, did you know that this road is where another car hit us? And did you know that sometimes, accidents just happen? But...Mama? Can they just happen again?"

To which Nissa held out her tiny hands and replied, "Car. Boom. Bonk. Cry?"

Shit. What was I supposed to say to these two tiny people? Who went and left me in charge, anyway? I was clearly out of my depth here, silently suffering from my own panic attack in the front seat.

Inara turned to Issie and held her hand. "Don't worry, Issie. There is no more Car Boom Bonking now. You don't ever have to cry or be scared again. Wanna know why?"

"Uh-huh?", which in Nissa's vernacular means: Do tell, big sis. I'm all ears.

And as all this is going on, I was sitting in the front seat, clutching my chest while Yousuf was mouthing "WHAT. IS. GOING. ON. WITH. YOU?!?!"

Inara continued, "Well you know, Issie. I made an invention to keep us all safe. Right, mama? Isn't it going to keep us safe now?"

And this time, I really did turn around.  Seeing my very much ALIVE little girls back there, holding each others hands. And WHOOSH! Just like that it was gone. Whatever was holding me down, squeezing me out of existence, was gone.

And just like that...whoosh...we passed The Spot Where It Happened.

I couldn't see Nissa's face because she was facing backwards, but I could see Inara's. And she could see me. She sees everything. Her eyes widened as she asked me,

"Mama? What happened? Are you feeling safe?"

Sigh. Deep breaths. Focus on the face. Inara, you are my tether. Breathe in. Breathe out. Inara, you are keeping me here.


"Yes, baby. I was scared for a minute, but I'm not anymore. We're safe."

Nissa waved her arms around and burbled, "No cry? No boom?"

Brought back to the confines of our car, tethered back to reality instead of floating around in the never-ending fog of what-ifs and what-could-have-beens, Inara and I both looked at each other, and smiled. Inara turned towards Nissa and said:

"Well of course, Issie! I made an invention to keep us safe. Didn't I Mama? And you helped me make it. You helped me and I helped you...didn't I?

Oh you have no idea, little love. But then again, maybe you do...

"Yup. We helped each other. And your invention is aaaaa-maaaazing."

Inara grinned as she launched herself into her explanation. This is how she does it, I thought to myself. This is how she keeps the fog at bay.

I realized that Inara wasn't afraid to open herself up to the past, but that the memory didn't own her. She had somehow made the fog submit to her by creating something new out of that murky darkness. It may have been grounded in fantasy, but through retellings such as this, it has become her reality. And that reality is one that she now controls.

My daughter is fearless.

All of a sudden, I was struck by how powerful her invention really was, And how it had the ability to make us all feel safe again.

"Issie, it's called the De-Icer 4000, and it has long pokers that break the ice on the road so no cars can ever slip on it again. And inside of it there are prizes, so after it's done poking the ice it can give you whatever prize you want. I like balloons. And pets. You could have some of those if you like, Issie. And the sun will be shining to help melt the ice too, and you know what? My invention can keep all of us, and even the guy who hit us, it can keep everyone safe ALWAYS! Look, Issie! Look out of your window! Can you see it? Can you see the De-Icer 4000?"

I saw the top of Nissa's little head turn to look in the direction Inara was pointing, out of her window and far away down the road. She pointed and exclaimed,

"Car. Boom. Bonk. All done!"

She believes her, I thought to myself.

"And Mama, can you see it too? Can you see the De-Icer 4000?"

I turned forward again, facing the world head on - but this time with a little less trepidation. Yousuf squeezed my hand and I relaxed, closing my eyes.  

Deep breaths. In and out. In and out.

I smiled, because in that moment, with the car whooshing forward and the world whooshing past, I really did see it there on the road in front of us. I saw it trundling along in the winter sun, poking at the ice and handing out prizes. I couldn't help but laugh at the sight of something so unimaginably silly. Something so unimaginably profound.

In that very moment, I finally felt safe.

This post is dedicated to my friend Shawntrell, who also faced the fog and came through it like a shining star.

If you are interested in keeping up with my posts at And Nobody Told Me, be sure to find me on Facebook and Twitter, so I can stop spamming you here! Happy Friday, friends...I'll see you on the flip side.
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