I wrote a post some time ago about how I’m prone to breaking things. Dishes. Expensive electronics. Clothing (Somehow, I find a way). In ninth grade, I spilled water on my friend Kyle D’Addario’s brand new computer – knocked a full glass right onto the keyboard. He loved that computer, and I can still see the stunned horror etched on his face, an acrid smell rising up from between the keys. That, and an embarrassing number of memories like it, is the root of my fear that each passing day is just one step closer to the day that I seriously injure Violet. I won’t mean to. I never set out to damage, break, or destroy things, but it happens nonetheless. Everytime it does, I say to myself, “From now on, I’ll be more careful. I’ll remember how stupid I feel right now, and it will keep me from doing something like this again.” But it never does. Take today, for example. I borrowed my wife’s camera to take some pictures of my students (I broke my camera last school year). She was justifiably reluctant, but she loves me, so she consented. I made it through the school day and returned home with the camera intact, proud of myself. My wife was at work, and with time to kill before dinner, I decided to take Violet down the road to Beaver Meadow for a quick hike. I carried her out to the car, camera around my wrist. I strapped her into the car seat, and reached over the back of the front passenger seat to drop the camera up front, where it landed hard on a jar I’d forgotten was on the seat. And with that, I’d done it again.
I held the camera in my hands and told myself, “From now on, I’ll be more careful. I’ll remember how stupid I feel right now, and it will keep me from doing something like this again,” even though I knew it wouldn’t. At least this time, the situation had a silver lining; by some incredible stroke of luck, I had just ordered my wife a new camera. She’d been complaining about hers for some time, and our upcoming anniversary seemed like a good time to surprise her. It’s completely against my nature to give or reveal a present’s identity before the appointed date, but this was a special circumstance. I needed a cushion, and it did soften the blow when she came home tonight and I fessed up. She was nice about it but not surprised, concerned more about missing opportunities to take pictures of Violet before the new camera arrives than with the busted camera. Her reaction made me feel a little better, but I was still frustrated with myself. Later, when she called me into the bedroom to put Violet to bed, I held my daughter in my arms and told her, “I want to say I’m sorry in advance for whatever I might do to you in the future. Just remember, scars can make you seem mysterious.”
292 days old