Thursday, May 30, 2013

Parenting Through Disaster

When I heard the sickening "thud" of his forehead meeting the step, I knew.  Everything seemed a slow motion blur after that.  My brother sprinting from the backyard to the deck and scooping him up.  Me, with Rosie in one arm, pulling Peter out of the swing and then my cell phone out of my back pocket, dialing my husband as my brother yelled over his shoulder "You're going to the hospital, Lyd."  My little Jo, screaming "I don't want to go to the hospital!" over and over while a river of blood ran down his bare chest, soaking his shorts.

It's in those moments that I wonder if I'm cut out to be a mom.  After all, I can handle the dailiness of it, the laundry and lessons, the chores and snuggles, reading books and baking pies.  But when the rubber meets the road, I don't want to look.  I don't want to see the inch-plus gash above my four year old's eye, flesh laid right open.  I don't want to explain to a stranger how it got there, and the possible judgment that might arise.  I'm...afraid.  Afraid of my inadequacies spelled out right there, stitched into skin like a testimony to my failings.  8 stitches on a Wednesday night, after a simple game of timed races.  A happy, laughing little guy changed in an instant to a bleeding, bawling mess.

My husband pulled in mere seconds after, tossed a still-sobbing boy into his car seat and peeled off in the direction of the hospital.  Even as we stayed in touch via text, I felt that pulsing guilt.  I admire his quick response and no nonsense approach and scorn my own emotional upheaval.  What I miss is that we are the perfect team.  What I miss is that we're doing just what we should - seamlessly slipping into the roles that fit us best.  I stay home with the babies who still need me, where I can do what I can and pray pray pray.  He deftly takes the matter in hand, filling out paperwork and conversing with nurses and keeping emotions at bay.

They pull in the driveway an hour or so later, and my boy marches in, telltale signs of a purple popsicle around his mouth and a bandaged forehead.  He tells me it didn't hurt, that he was brave, that everyone was nice and that he's ok.  My husband follows, offers a tired smile and flops down on the couch, and I realize that we're a perfect match.  Just as if it was orchestrated this way before either of us were born, our natural abilities complement the other and together, we form a whole.  A parenting unit that is equipped to handle what this life with 6 little one throws at us, even those disasters that occur in the twinkling of an eye.

  I can feel the guilt slipping away when I see it - together, with God there at the center - we've got this. 

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  1. Lydia, considering you have 6 children, it is amazing if this was the first trip to the ER. Joel alone, had his chin stitched 5 times and cut his head twice and broke his wrist. He has been stitched, stapled and glued. I have usually been with at the ER, but have not been able to watch. One time Dave got a huge gash between his eyes and I met him at the ER. I almost passed out as they cleaned him up, it was not a pretty sight. So, yes... keep up the great job of being the mom who stays home and does her best along with prayers...

  2. You have so got this :) Glad he is okay.

  3. Scary isn't it? Glad he's OK and looks at it all as a grand adventure! We've had stitches once (in the corner of the eyelid, thanks to a hammer claw!) and one mild concussion. Sam is much better at the emergencies than I am, although I do alright at the time it's the reaction afterwards...K

  4. I needed to read this! Just went through a similar situation... my 3 yr old daughter hit her big tooth on a baseboard and bent it back. It broke the nerve so the dentist couldn't restore it and had to pull it. The good thing is it was a baby tooth. But that doesn't take away the guilt I feel when I see her precious smile. If I hadn't moved her bed it wouldn't have happened. Its been hard for me. My husband was the one who took her to the dentist. Reading what you said about you and your husband being the perfect team. I couldn't agree more! :) Might I add we were also on vacation visiting family. It was our first major accident with any of our 3 children under 5 yrs. Thanks again for this post! I enjoy reading your blog so much!


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