Vinnie has to be at work in an hour. I just got back from the grocery store and checked on the roast that has been slow cooking all morning long. Not too much longer. With the girls cleaning their room, Joe is working on his football stuff, and Vinnie taking a nap, I decided to close my eyes for a moment or two before I have to take Vinnie in.
I am not sure how much time passed from when I closed my eyes. I wake up to screaming. Ear piercing screaming. Crying, horrible sounding crying, cries of pain. Immediately I wake up, not quite understanding what is happening. Joe is yelling “What’s wrong! What happened! Talk to me!”
It only took me seconds to get myself together. Gracie is standing there. Her left hand is on her eye. She is crying. In between the heartbreaking cries she mutters “Something is not right.” I run over to her, she cries more. Uncontrollable crying. Not your normal kind of a cry. A cry that shook me to my core. A cry that I have never heard before and I already know I never want to hear again. Vinnie is now in the living room. Quickly, I look at him. The look on his face tells me he is just as confused as I am. Sofia is now with all of us as well. She is crying. Hers is a different kind of cry. Not a painful cry, but a cry of fear.
“Vinnie, take Sofia to her room, calm her down, ask her what happened!” Joe orders. He is yelling. Loudly yelling. I know he is yelling because he is scared.
My first thought is a seizure. I am standing in front of Gracie, she is in my arms. I am hugging her, whispering so no one else can hear, but hoping it calms her down. “It’s okay, calm down, shhh, it’s okay. Calm down, you have to tell me what happened.”
She will not stop crying. Joe is running back and forth. I have no idea what is going on in Sofia’s room. I cannot get Gracie to stop crying. I continue to whisper in what I hope is a calming voice. “Everything will be okay. Calm down. Everything will be okay.”
Joe runs out of the bedroom. “Get your coats we have to take Gracie to the hospital. It’s her eye. A pencil. Sofia poked her in the eye.”
I cannot even process this. Sofia is now in the living room, trying to find jackets. “I am sorry. I am so sorry. I did not mean to.”
Gracie cries more. I cannot think. What the hell happened? Gracie has her hand so tightly over her eye. She will not move it. I do not force her. The hospital is right up the road. Not even a mile. We will go. The doctors will look at it.
Joe is now next to me and Gracie. He helps her with her jacket, but she will not take her hand away from her eye.
With Gracie now with Joe, I go over to a crying Sofia. “Dad hates me now. He hates me.” I give her a hug. “Dad does not hate you. He would never hate you. He is just worried. It will be okay.”
“Vinnie, turn off the oven, I need her shoes, Sofia, get your sister’s shoes!” Joe is screaming. I cannot concentrate on that. I cannot concentrate on anything. What happened? What the hell is under Gracie’s hand?
Sofia and I are in the hallway. I continue to reassure her. “It’s okay. We are going to go to the hospital. It’s just right up the road. It will be okay. Just calm down.”
I hear Joe tell Gracie. “Okay, I need to look at your eye. I need to see what happened. Joe and Gracie cannot see me. I cringe. I am so scared. Did her eyeball come out of the socket? Is she going to be blind?
“No! Do not touch her eye, we just need to have the Doctor look at it!”
I want to cry. I want to shrink myself up against the wall and cry. But, I can’t.
Vinnie is in the kitchen, looking on at Joe and Gracie. Sofia and I are still in the hallway. I cannot get Sofia to calm down. She is crying. Although a different kind of crying, a different sound, from Gracie’s, Sofia is hysterical in her own way.
Sofia and I are almost the same height. I take her in my arms and whisper to her to the same way I whispered to Gracie ” Dear God, I do not know what is happening now. Right now more than ever we need your peace. We need your guidance and we all need to feel your presence.”
Sofia cries more.
“Gracie, I need you to move your hand. I need to see your eye. Jen, bring me a mirror!”
As soon as Joe sputtered those words, Vinnie took my place by Sofia and I ran to grab my makeup mirror. I threw it at Joe, ran back to Sofia, and Vinnie took his place in the kitchen where he had a clear vision of Joe and Gracie and me and Sofia.
I hug Sofia, she hugs me back.
“Okay Gracie, I am slowly going to move your hand away.”
I hug Sofia tighter. Vinnie is watching.
“Gracie, I need you to open your eye. Jen, grab the keys!”
I hear the muffled sound of a scared Gracie, “I felt my eye wiggle.”
Dear God, please let her be okay.
“Gracie, I need you to slowly open your eye.”
I fight back the tears. Sofia is still crying. Vinnie, the middle man so to speak is continuously looking at me and Sofia and Joe and Gracie.
With Sofia in my arms, I hug her tight. I close my eyes tight, not knowing what is about to happen.
“Okay Gracie, everything looks good. A little bruising but everything looks good. Here, look in the mirror.”
Sofia and I look at each other. For the first time in what feels like hours but in reality was probably only ten minutes, we have a little bit of hope.
“Gracie, how many fingers am I holding up? Can you see my hand?”
I look at Vinnie and he gives me a nod.
A much calmer Gracie mutters “Four. I see four fingers.”
Vinnie gives me a thumbs up. Sofia and I look at each other. “Okay Sofia, that’s a good sign, it will be okay.”
“Gracie, how many fingers do I have up now?”
“Six. I see six fingers.”
Okay. Everything should be fine, right? Gracie has her eye intact. She can see. Everything should be okay.
Sofia and I make our way to the living room with Joe and Sofia. I sit on the Sofia, safely planted between my two daughters, with Vinnie looking on. Joe. He is trying to tell me something but I cannot quite read him. I am drained. I am worried, but Gracie saw the fingers, she saw his hand so she can see. That’s good, right?
Four hours later.
Vinnie is safely at work. Joe, the girls and I are home from the hospital.
Gracie and her eye will be okay. There will be some bruising, some soreness, but she will be okay.
I am drained. Mentally drained. I never want to hear those cries from my daughters again. I never want to see Vinnie worried to the extent that he was worried about his sisters.
Tonight, we were lucky. Tonight, Gracie’s grandparents were watching over her. We definitely had an angel. An angel who probably needs a good couple days off to recover.