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Growing Pains

I am eight years old. I stare out the car window. Droplets slide down the outside. I trace them with my finger. Tear-shaped drops like the tears I should be crying. But my eyes are strangely dry. I'm scared. I've never been truly scared before. My dad could be dying. And all I can do is stare out the window and wonder how it happened. I can hear my sister crying in the back seat. Her friend puts her arm around her. My brother sits next to me. He stares ahead like a stone statue as my friend's car drives us away from the ski mountain. Away from the place where it happened.

In the following months after the accident we tip-toe around the house. We whisper. We try not to disturb my dad. He was lucky. When he crashed, he had hit his head on a tree. A concussions and a cut on his head were the only evident injuries from the impact. No internal bruising. No bleeding near the brain. By God's grace, he had survived. But something in me would never be the same. My eight-year-old sheltered bubble was broken. I began to understand. Pain wasn't just in stories. Death wasn't only for the bad guy. Life was no longer safe. My dad wasn't invincible.

The next year it happened again. My dad almost died. This time it was in a snow cave that collapsed. This time he didn't recover as quickly. Sure, physically he was better off than the last accident. But mentally he was scarred. A year of depression followed. In my child-like optimism, I didn't understand. He still had us. We were a family. Couldn't love conquer anything? But that was exactly what my dad had begun to realize. We were a family. And we depended on him. If he died, if he had died, we would have been a family stranded with out a leader or provider. I wrote him letters. I gave him hugs. I made him cookies. But his eyes were still sad. He was frail. I was frail. People are frail. I began to realize that the only way we can survive is through love and hope. And persistence. And with these three things, slowly the light returned to my dad's eyes. But I had changed. No longer could I look at the world and see a happy fairytale. I saw the pain and despair. And I wanted to change it.

Today my dad and I write together. We watch and read stories and discuss their meanings. He cheers me on in soccer; I help him with his work. We discuss what we see in the world. And how we can change it.



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Therangergirl said...
May 7, 2012 at 8:50 am:
very good, i guess i know what you mean, but my bubble was shattered by much more abrupt means.....
 
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