You know the cry of pain. It’s different than the “I’m irritated,” “He just took my toy,” or “I need a nap” type of cry. It is unmistakable and it doesn’t happen all that often. When it does, though, I go running down the stairs, scoop up the two-year-old and give him a hug. It’s never fun, though, to look into the face and see his hand full of blood. So I rush him to the bathroom, wondering how much of it is on my shirt (yes, in the midst of blood I do wonder where it’s all going…), and put the first thing I can find on it – some tissues. When I pull them away, I quickly put them back in place and yell, “Kathy, come here.” “What?” she asks when she enters. “Hold pressure. I’ll get dressed and take him in.”
From that point on….it’s just completely automatic. I get dressed. The Little Guy needs a diaper change. I cut off his inner layer of pajamas and throw them away instead of having to pull the shirt over his head and re-open the split lip which has a fragile clot on it and is for the moment not bleeding. Smooth over the 7-year-old who is begging for attention because he has his first field-trip for school and first playdate at a friend’s and is getting a little off-center by the attention given to the annoying little brother…. Pat the 4-year-old on the head and give him a quick hug. Shove a diaper and some wipes into my purse and off we go.
It’s four hours and four stitches later through the emergency room and we’re back to the car again. It’s about then that I process the morning and realize that (a) I really need to go to the bathroom (problem with being a single mom in the ER) and (b) I’m pretty tired from the nonstop morning.
The suddenness of a kid’s illness really throws off my day – anyone’s day. And it’s not just the schedule, but the whole emotional tone of it. I’ve thought this weekend what it would be like to have been alone with the boys Thursday morning. I would have had to find someone to quickly watch the older boys or take them along with me (and that would have been just a nightmare in the bustle of an emergency room and an exam room full of fun bits of medical equipment and devices…as well as the ubiquitous and life-threatening wheeled three-legged stool!).
Fortunately, I am an extremely well-supported single mom. My sister was there to hold pressure on The Little Guy’s face. My mother arrived a few minutes later and quickly took over my “morning duties” as I looked for a matching set of little shoes. There were no questions about what needed to be done. No grumpy sighs about how their morning was just altered by the need to run boys into day care or drop off at school. No guilt. Total and complete support as we worked together as a unit – a micro-family immediately morphing into a macro-family to meet the needs of the moment.
I know I don’t tell them often enough – but I am so grateful to these two other women who make it possible for me to parent three boys.
Thank you. And I love you.
Oh…and…um….about the fact that Mr. Ornery just spiked a fever before going to bed tonight….and likely won’t be going to daycare tomorrow….. Anyone? Anyone?