October 20, 2014
Friday was a rough day. To begin with, our littlest guy had two separate visits to the urgent care/ER, for two separate lacerations on his face. That really happened. The first one was in the morning, when he tripped over a pillow and gashed the area next to his eye on the corner of our coffee table. A couple hours, a lot of toddler tears, and some surgical glue later, I was home with just enough time to get the kids settled before Todd and I headed to a court hearing for our girl. That was our first experience at court, and it’s not something I’d like to do every day. It was unpleasant. We were only there as observers, and even so I felt frustrated and drained afterwards. Following court, we immediately had some other commitments involving our girl, more pleasant this time, but by the time we got everybody home at 8:30, I was ready to shoo the kids off to bed, put some comfy clothes on, and have some tea and pretend it was wine. Before we even got through the first part of that plan, our little guy had climbed up on to a stool (anyone who has spent any time at our house will know how often he gives us panic attacks with his [usually incident-free] antics on those stools) and proceeded to fall off, chomping through his bottom lip when he landed. For the second time that day we saw his face covered in blood, and for the second time we prepared to take him to the urgent care. At the urgent care, which was about to close, they recommended that instead of gluing it, we go to the ER at the children’s hospital to get the gash below his lip stitched up, so away we went, with a quick stop by the house on our way. During that quick stop we learned that a break-in had happened at our next-door neighbor’s house just a couple hours earlier, and a cop was paroling the street, informing neighbors and trying to learn a little more. On that disquieting note, we left our older children behind (with a friend) and headed across town to the hospital. Several hours and several hundred dollars later (and probably exposed to several hundred forms of germs), at 1 in the morning, we were home, and in the end they only glued the cut–which means, of course, that we could have just stayed at the urgent care in the first place and been done in a few minutes.
Todd and I were talking about it the next morning, how full and frustrating that day had been in many ways, but how, after it was all said and done, it left us feeling grateful, not upset. When the little guy cut his eye, I had been visiting with a good friend who, when I rushed out, stayed behind and washed my dishes and cleaned up all the toys the kids had been playing with, so things were neat and tidy when I got home. My in-laws were in town and were able to accompany me to the urgent care, lending some welcome moral support. My very dear friend who has just moved to town was able to get our girl from school when she picked her own kids up. My in-laws, still in town, were able to care for the kids while we ran off to court, and while I didn’t love the experience of being there, I had Todd by my side through it. When we left for the urgent care the second time, my very dear friend’s (same one) husband was at our house almost immediately to hang out with the kids. When we ultimately arrived at the ER, I had my good man by my side again, and a cute toddler in my lap. And while the wait was too long and the price was too high and everything felt long and annoying, that was the ONLY problem–it was annoying. We saw kids in worse shape than ours was in, and it gave some perspective. Our kid was hurt, but not badly, and he was healthy.
We were laughing about it, that a day like that could fill us with thankfulness. But seriously, God provided for us through those difficulties in some beautiful ways. Our lives are full and (sometimes) chaotic, but when that chaos involves people, it means there is community and support that we wouldn’t have otherwise. Because the blessings didn’t end on Friday. Our house had friends in it again Saturday morning, listening and laughing with us as we shared our experiences. Other friends had us over Saturday afternoon. More friends made dinner for us Saturday night. We went to church Sunday morning, surrounded by people we love, praising a God we adore. We got to take the older boys and their cousin to the symphony Sunday afternoon. My parents watched the kids Sunday night so we could go to our Bible study. For this introvert, I am, by nature, usually drained by that much interaction with others. But in this case I just found myself standing in wonder that we have been so loved and so well provided-for.
I had some really anxious moments on Friday, some related to the amount of blood on my son’s face (and shirt, which stayed on through both injuries and was a sight to see by the end of the day), some related to the things that were said during court, and some related to the fact that some hooligan was on our street looking for homes to break into. But in the midst of the anxiety and craziness, I also felt God’s peace, that surpasses understanding. He carried us through, He gave us friends and family to be the hands and feet of Jesus, and He replaced my heart of worry with one of trust.
Our little guy, on the other hand, does not seem to have learned any valuable lessons. For all the freaking out he did while being treated, he seems hell-bent on getting himself back in the same situation. Since Friday, he’s been running in drunken zig-zags all over the house like he’s in search of sharp corners to crash into, we have to hide our stools because he gets himself up on top of them the second we turn our backs, and we have to watch him like a hawk around anything remotely climb-able. Maintaining a heart of trust will be tricky with this guy around, but at least we’ve got some practice.