Karin Mitchell's books on Goodreads
Between Families Between Families
reviews: 5
ratings: 8 (avg rating 4.75)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A few years ago, I was at the post office after hours picking up my mail. There was another woman there doing the same thing. Except she had a bit of a panicked look on her face and was looking around at the ceiling. Turns out there was a hummingbird that had made a wrong turn and ended up frantically flying around the post office banging his head into various ceiling panes. We ended up teaming up, finding a pillowcase in the random crap in her car, turning a trash can upside down to stand on, and saving that hummingbird. We sent him out into the dusk.

There was a really nasty accident here with some out of towners. They had a heap of kids in the back. None of them in car seats or belts. None of them in the car by the time it was done rolling. Lots of people travel like this. I wish they wouldn't. Tiny humans die in cars. Or out of cars, depending. They don't always die, sometimes they're in full body casts. Have traumatic brain injuries. And then people who were too poor to afford a car that fit all their kids have kids with injuries to get to the hospital and back for PT, and OT, and meds, and and and.

My coworker ended up involved in the aftermath of the accident. On account of traveling with children without car seats and seat belts is child abuse. The parents went to jail. My coworker went out of state with a baby in a full body cast. Meanwhile back in the mountains, we fretted about her far away in a neighborhood where at 10:30 people linger in the streets without shirts and blare music from their cars. We all recognize when someone's not from around these parts.

My coworker loves her own tiny humans. This tiny human in his tiny cast has people who love him too. People far away in roach-infested apartments with spic and span kitchen floors and juice boxes in their fridge waiting for a little boy with plaster over his nipples. People who listened in wide-eyed attention as a blonde lady explained how to change his diaper and care for him.

She made it home safely. Hugged her own kids extra snug, tightened down their belts extra tight. Wouldn't you?

I'm not sure who in the story is the hummingbird and who had the pillowcase. I can say that my coworker's eyes filled with tears from the love you make all day every day for your own tiny people and how sometimes when someone else's tiny person crosses your path you can't help but give it away to him. I can say that this family's lucky if she has the pillow case, because they'll make it out of the mountains where they just didn't belong in the first place. Gently.


Lora said...

I take a giant stand in regard to seat belts and car seats because of exactly this.

One second can ruin an entire family for life. And all because of what?

Thank you for this post

Heidi said...

This is lovely.

The story isn't lovely, but your telling of it is.

me said...

I cried when I heard this story on the news - and then I cried more when I heard the account from the ER.

I am so sad for the kiddo that passed away - and so sad for the ones who didn't but might never be the same.

As for the parents, I know that you are supposed to feel bad for them - but I struggle. If you are going to pile your kids 4 deep in the back seat of a little car, at least don't speed.

I was, however, relieved that there were no drugs and/or alcohol in the driver's system.

Silly Swedish Skier Says So said...

Can you imagine being a kid and trying to recover from those injuries without your mom? Heartbreaking.

@dollgina said...

Beautiful and tragic. Cheers to you and your coworker and the post office lady for caring for the tiny things.

Tammy said...

This was so moving. I was going to send my best to all those with pillowcases. But I'm sending my best to the lost hummingbirds, too, and all those who care about one more.

me said...

i guess that is why you have your job and I have mine - I am sure it is heartbreaking for that child but should there be no repercussions - I see it as neglect...but that is probably why I could NEVER be a caseworker - thank you for having it in you. ;)