I dropped my baby this weekend

That's right, and I mean it just like I said it. I dropped her down a flight of steps.

Perhaps you've heard about the ice in Portland this weekend. Our new home (blog update that never happened: we moved two weeks ago, we're now on Sandy out toward Gresham) was just as iced over as everywhere else, perhaps more so being as close to the gorge as we are.

Saturday morning we were headed out with previous plans. I had looked out the window earlier and it didn't look that bad -- weather reports had predicted freezing rain but to my naive eyes it just looked like a little frost out there. We got the kids ready and I told Melissa that I would take Adriel out with me and get the car warmed up while she gathered together the things we would need with us. Thanks be to God, our habit is to get Adriel completely buckled into her car seat before walking out the front door. Thanks be to God.

I stepped onto our (covered) landing, felt the cold, and looked up at the clouds (mistake #1). Nothing was coming from the sky, so I proceeded to the edge where there are 6 (uncovered) steps down to the parking lot of our apartment complex.
As I approached the edge I looked out at the parking lot to see what the ground looked like (mistake #2). Never once did I look down at the top step to see what it looked like.

The moment my foot hit the edge of the landing, it became airborne. As you have by now deduced, there was a coating of ice over everything in sight -- I was just not paying enough attention to see it. Adriel's carseat was in my right hand, a plastic bag was in my left -- with both hands full I hadn't reached for the railing (mistake #3). I twisted to my right as I fell, reaching around toward the carseat. Nonetheless, as the carseat hit the ground it immediately bounced out of my hand.

The next few moments occured as separate realizations:

I'm falling -- ow, my hip

Adriel's falling too

Crap, these steps are slick -- I'm going all the way down

I can't reach Adriel's carseat

Adriel's going all the way down too

And in a snapshot glance I saw the bottom of her seat as she bounced upsidedown over the third step.

I scrambled for purchase on the slick steps as I twisted my way down, but there was nothing I could do until I had bounced all the way down to the ground behind my car at the bottom of the steps. Adriel's carseat flipped end over end twice and finished lying on its side about five feet away from me at the bottom of the steps, facing away from me as it spun slowly on the ice.

There was no sound.

In one motion I slid myself on hands and knees over to the carseat, uprighting it with no small measure of fear. By the grace of God, what I saw was a small face, completely unharmed but frozen with mouth wide in silent scream. An instant later that scream became audible, splitting the morning air with a frightful sound.

A cry is a wonderful thing sometimes.

Upon arriving back inside, we hurriedly unbuckled her and checked her tiny body for any sign of injury. Not three days before, Melissa had commented that we needed
to loosen her straps a little -- they were getting too tight. Thankfully, I hadn't done that yet. With her harness strapped on tight and the handle locked in the upright position, she got nothing more than shaken up and scared.

I got more than a little shaken up and scared too. Ok, the truth is I don't know whether she or I was more scared by the incident. There can be few things worse in this life than causing harm to the people you love the most, and how much more so when the person is completely helpless and at your mercy, needing your protection and watchful eye simply to survive through the day. To then not only *not* protect, but to actually *cause* harm... the degree of my relief at her safety is evident.

Oh yeah -- and my hip still hurts.

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