I knew the day would eventually come. With three rambunctious, happy, crazy boys the rush to the emergency room was bound to happen sooner or later. I have to admit, having gone six years with only one or two visits to the doctor for anything other than well checkups, I was feeling like we’d done pretty well. But I suppose my bubble had to burst eventually, and Saturday happened to be that day.
We’d gone to visit my parents about three hours away. My husband was out of town camping for the week, so the boys and I woke up extra early to make the journey. We sang in the car, played 20 questions, listened to Hank the Cowdog on cd, and even slipped through “the big city in between” without a smidgen of traffic (amazing!!). Grandma’s house is a magical place of cookies, hideouts, lush gardens with as many grasshoppers as a little boy could dream of, rhubarb pie, swing set, playhouse, and… the TRAMPOLINE. Oh, the trampoline. That wonderful invention that can keep a little boy on top of cloud nine for hours. We talked about the trampoline for a good fifteen minutes of the drive and determined that as soon as hugs had been exchanged, THAT was what they were going to do.
Sure enough, upon reaching our destination, the boys leaped from the car doors and ran to give hugs, then holding true to their words, ran to the back yard with grandma and grandpa holding their little hands. The trampoline hadn’t been set up yet, so the guys got to work. In and out of the garage the boys and Grandpa went, each time carrying an armful of metal parts. N, our almost-two-year-old was in the thick of it when something caught his eye. A ladder. If you know our youngest son even a little, you know he’s a climber. If there’s ever anything to scale, he’s there. The boys came out with the next handful. All the boys, except N. Suddenly we heard a crash and a scream. I raced in to find our little one lying on the ground under the ladder. My heart hit the pit of my stomach as I lifted his tiny frame into my arms. His eye instantly swelled up as he shook with sobs. In my six years as a mother we’ve had many falls, even more bumps, and innumerable bruises. This one topped them all. With my husband far away in the woods and unable to talk sense into me, my mother and I buckled poor N into his seat and we climbed back into the car.
The emergency room was empty, but for reasons only known to emergency staff, we sat for at least an hour waiting. My son curled up into me and stared around the room dazed. Every few minutes a whimper would escape his mouth and he’d clutch me even harder. I replayed the moment over and over in my mind and felt smaller and smaller. I knew who wouldn’t be getting mother of the year award this week!
Half the day later we were in the car once more headed home with a slip of paper telling us how much Tylenol to administer to a 20 pound toddler. Yep. That was it. “Well,” the doctor sighed after taking a two second look at his face. ” He’ll certainly have a shiner!” (My husband will probably shudder when he sees the bill and hears what it paid for) But he was going to be fine. Thank goodness. Just an amazing black eye to sport for a few weeks.
Much of the rest of the day I spent holding my baby,cuddling him, rocking him, and letting him sleep while his brothers jumped on the trampoline. He needed his mom, and I didn’t want to be anywhere else but there in Grandma’s back yard loving him. Over and over in my mind I could hear a song my older boys have been learning this year at church.
1. Our Father has a family. It’s me!
It’s you, all others too: we are His children.
He sent each one of us to earth, through birth,
To live and learn here in fam’lies.
Skipping to the third verse…
3. A mother’s purpose is to care, prepare,
To nurture and to strengthen all her children.
She teaches children to obey, to pray,
To love and serve in the fam’ly.
God gave us families to help us become what He wants us to be—
This is how He shares His love, for the fam’ly is of God.
Right then the responsibility to care for that little boy weighed heavily on my mind. To nurture him, to strengthen him while he was in pain. Then, when he was feeling back to his normal, crazy self, to reinforce and teach AGAIN the dangers of climbing without mom there to catch him!!
That day I held in my arms a precious child who needed his mother. How thankful I am for that charge: to care, prepare, nurture, strengthen, and teach my children. How thankful I am for families. For my husband who is usually around to talk sense into me before I rush to the hospital for every little fall. For boys who love to jump and run and play, who get more bruises than I’ve ever gotten in my lifetime, and who teach ME more than I often feel I could ever teach them. And most especially for a loving Heavenly Father who answers my prayers for peace of mind and a calm assurance on the way to the hospital and has given me these three little monkeys to pull my hair out over.
Until N’s black eye returns to normal, I’ll have a shiny visual reminder of my responsibility as a mom. I’ll have many days to learn what it’s like to be judged by your child’s appearance from passers by, and I’ll have that humbling experience in the forefront of my mind. And I’m sure my three will have more bumps, bruises, and scrapes, and I’ll have that reminder time and time again.