She crawls into bed with me this morning, carrying a small toy, and a two-year-old wound reopens, fresh.

“Guess where I got my doll?” she asks. It’s been some time since I’ve seen it, and I don’t want to look at it, talk about it now.

I swallow. “The movies.”


“I did.”

“The movie theater,” she clarifies. “We were playing the video games and Daddy said to come, but I kept playing. And then everyone was gone, so I asked where my daddy was. They gave me the doll and then brought me to the movie. We watched Toy Story.”

Secretly I’m glad that my name wasn’t mentioned, that the story isn’t connected with me, although I held her afterward like I’d never let her go. It wasn’t Toy Story, but one of the Narnia movies. All ten of us went on Christmas Day, when the theater was noisy and crowded.

They gave her the Fiona doll, the way I’m told paramedics give teddy bears to traumatized children.

She was apart from us for about 10 minutes and I never even knew it. That’s the hardest part to remember, that in the darkness I didn’t realize she was missing.

Few items can overcome me with a sense of shame like the site of that doll. I didn’t write about it when it happened, it was too new. Too raw.

Too humiliating.

Unlike mine, her memory appears to be unclouded; it’s just a story about her doll. Nothing more.

I pray my parenting isn’t defined by those moments when I fall, and fail miserably.

Pin It on Pinterest