We never put up a baby gate.
Briggs wasn’t that kind of toddler.
If we were downstairs – that’s where he wanted to be. Same went for when we were asleep – which is basically all we do upstairs. He just wasn’t ever the kid that wandered up or down without first fetching Mum or Dad.
Hell, at six, he still isn’t.
So, for the most part the stairs were never an issue. Except for the one morning when he was three.
Ken was downstairs in the shower. I was getting dressed in our bedroom closet (which isn’t really a walk-in closet but it isn’t like a typical closet either – old New England cottage – odd spaces) – and Briggs had just woken up.
Briggs waddled in just as I finished up – though I still hadn’t made a final decision on necklace and earrings. I gave him a quick snug and told him I was almost ready to head down. He said ‘okay,’ and started toward the top of the stairs.
His intention was to wait for me – but he was carrying his silky blanket – and even as I turned toward my jewelry box, I caught a glimpse of his green silk drop far too close to his bare feet and before I could finish the sentence, “Bubba, don’t slip on your…” he was tumbling down.
I saw his whole little body flip – head first – and it all felt so slow, even though all I wanted was to move quickly enough to keep it from happening.
I yelled for Ken and darted for Briggs – and the two of us got to him by the third step from the landing. There were loud cries – but no bumps, bruises or blood. Plenty of hugs and kisses and ultimately decisions that doctors weren’t necessary and daycare and work could go on as scheduled.
Though I did call my daycare provider (who was really more like an aunt and angel combined) every hour on the hour – and I excused myself from the first meeting of the day to throw-up.
Even after the accident, we still never installed a gate and to date another spill has never taken place.
Still, the slow-motion of the accident haunts me. Makes me feel like I knew it would happen before it ever did, and still, I couldn’t stop it.
At my lowest, I can still get down with some serious blame and shame for feeling like, my inability to stop the spill, means that in part, I must have caused it. It’s a flawed logic that unfortunately isn’t limited to this incident.
And still, I’m grateful for the awareness of the faulty thinking and the disservice of blame and shame, and the resilience of everyone involved – because falling (spilling, slipping, even crashing) is inevitable…and so is coming together, and getting up, and making the climb.