Playing quietly, small chuckles escaping, the baby kept kicking and bouncing while the mother cleaned and dusted in the same room. Kicking and bouncing, slowly moving. There wasn’t a destination, just a small bouncy baby inching across the room, bouncing, kicking into the hall. She could sometimes get her little feet just enough on the hardwood floor of the hall to give a slide and run into the wall. Laughter filled the space as the baby played in her walker.
Suddenly screams pierced the air. Blood-splitting, indescribable screams echoed through the house. The mother’s heart stopped even as she ran through the house. A loud crashing noise mixed with the screams as the mother entered the kitchen. A horrible burning smell filled the room, small pieces of burned charred flesh floated through the air, beans splashed all over the front of the stove, the floor and all down the baby’s head and body. The mother could hear her own screams over all else.
Wrapping the baby in a sheet and running out of the door the mother was screaming at the top of her lungs for somebody to please help her, help me, help my baby. She was screaming so loudly, neighbors came out, seeing the blood and skin, the raw bloody screaming mass that was the baby. Somebody called the hospital, the police, the father. Mother and baby were transported to the hospital. There was no hope. None.
Minutes passed slowly and turned into hours, the mother and father clinging to one another, helplessly waiting. An army of doctors and nurses were trying to save the baby and an army of men and women were praying to God for a miracle. An eternity of time passed before the doctor came out and said they had done all they could do and now they could only wait and see.
Five days passed and the baby was still in critical condition, two-thirds of the baby’s body was badly burned but hope was slowly blooming in the hearts of the mother and father. Sixteen more days the baby spent in the burn center. Nothing but those cornflower blue eyes peering out from rolls upon rolls of bandages. Eyes that were happy to see her parents, eyes that didn’t understand the pain but understood the love.
Back at home the mother and the father resumed their lives. Lives that were changed forever. A new path was forged for the family. Unknowingly, the greatest tragedy of their lives created a bedrock upon which they would form a dynasty.