Posts Tagged With: Hospital

Black Eyes, ER Visits, and That Sweet Reminder of What Being a Mom is All About

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.

Photo curtesy of Katie Jane Photos (except this is a picture of the picture, so the original is way better! I was just being lazy).

Photo curtesy of Katie Jane Photos (except this is a picture of the picture, so the original is way better! I was just being lazy).


Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Slugs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails…

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Back in college my roommate and I were asked to go on a double date. The guys asking happened to be cousins and spent the entire night laughing about the most crazy and ridiculous things they’d done growing up. One story I remember from that night combined a parachute, a long rope, an old truck and a bunch of teenage boys…

The boys had found a parachute in pretty good condition at the local thrift store and thought “What the heck. We could have some fun with this!” They drove out to a long, straight, dirt road and tied the parachute to a 30 foot rope. My roommate’s date was the lucky guinea pig. They hooked him up using their trusty Boy Scout knots and revved the engine. Soon flying 20 feet above the ground, truck kicking up dirt, the teenage boys suddenly realized they hadn’t thought about how to get him down, and large trees and a curve in the road were looming ahead, and rather quickly.

This is just terrible. I’m so sorry to leave you hanging at the climax of the story, but I honestly can’t remember how it ended. My imagination and vague memory tells me it probably involved a broken arm, lots of scrapes, bruises and blood. Possibly a trip to the ER. What I do remember that night was how my roommate and I were dumbfounded that they were still around to tell their crazy tales. I clearly recall their response when we questioned, “Your poor mothers! Were they constantly a nervous wreck??” It was like the thought hadn’t even crossed their minds. Both had no sisters, only brothers, and it was clear that their reckless behavior landed them in the ER probably more times than their moms could count. They had become desensitized by their sons’ years of disregard for gravity, common sense, and safety. It didn’t even phase them!

After that date my roommate and I would tease that one of us would be the mom of all boys, dropping kids off at the hospital like it were weekly soccer practice. Eh, no big deal. Somehow I’d expected it to be her. I never had brothers. what on earth would I do with boys??

Well, eight years later, sure enough she has the darling girl in bows and frilly dresses and I have a house full of guys. Each time my husband and I have found out we’d be bringing home another baby boy, my mind immediately conjures up images of a 16-year-old tied to a parachute flying 20 feet above an old pickup speeding down some unknown dirt road.

Not too long ago I asked a friend, “Why is it that everywhere we go it seems like my boys are more reckless than any other kids??” In the most tactful way she could think of, she smiled and said, “Well my friend, maybe it could be because they are!” I suppose she makes a good point. Butterfly bandages are used as often as tissues at our house. Pulling splinters out of fingers has almost become part of our nightly ritual along with brushing teeth and reading stories. A goose egg is the look at least one of my boys is sporting most days.


Never in my dreams did I think that I would carry the stigma of being the “all boy mom.” So often life doesn’t go exactly as we have pictured. God seems to frequently send us down an entirely different path to explore than we’d ever even considered. I’m ashamed to admit that when we sat in the ultrasound room for our third little one and the doctor exclaimed, “Looks like another boy for you!” I cried, and they weren’t exactly tears of joy. But two years later I can’t imagine my life without that audacious little bundle of wildness. Nor without the other two. God sent me three boys. Not what I expected (I have no faith in my motherly intuition any more!), but just what God knew I needed. As the years have passed the reality that frilly dresses and bows might not be where life takes me has begun to sink in. I absolutely LOVE being a mom to all boys, but sometimes I still wonder about that little girl and hope that opportunity will be mine. And maybe that will mean years down the road as a grandma when I can spoil her and afford all the girly accessories. In the meantime I’ll keep trying to adjust to the constant bumps and bruises. The endless tussling, the never-ending dinosaur battles, the tripping over Lego towers. I’ll work on perfecting my construction vehicle knowledge, my pirate lingo, and being the most vile villain so my superheroes can save the day again and again. In the meantime I’ll do my best to raise three impetuous, crazy, wonderful, chivalrous boys so that they can be worthy of a sweet girl who, like their mother, loves them in spite of their quarky boyishness. Sometimes even because of it.


And maybe, just maybe, when they’re teenagers I won’t be phased by the ridiculous things they do (but don’t be betting money on that!).









Categories: Motherhood, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Maiden Spring Voyage

We usually don’t make a huge deal of birthdays. A cake, family, maybe a couple presents, nothing big. So when my birthday came on one particular year, I hadn’t expected much. I certainly hadn’t expected to celebrate at my husband’s bedside in the ER.

The real story actually begins years before, right after we got married. My husband had taken a sailing class in college and had fallen in love with it all. Getting a sail boat was constantly on his mind, like a thorn in his side that wouldn’t go away until he felt that water spraying his face. The problem was that we were poor college students and had no time. When we graduated, moved, and started making some money, the problem was no place to keep a sail boat. When we bought our first home, I insisted that before he took the plunge, I needed a car to drive (we had one car that he took to work, meaning I walked EVERYWHERE). Finally I ran out of excuses and he was able to fill his dream. He searched and searched and in early November ( well past sailing season) he found his “second love.” It was small, yellow, and old. Perfect in every way for his sailor’s heart.

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We soon found that November was an awful time to buy a boat. Besides one daring sail in early December, it sat in our driveway teasing and taunting him every time he left for work. It called to him as he pulled in at night. He was in torment waiting those long, winter months for his chance at that maiden spring voyage.

Mid-march can hardly be considered dead of winter, but it’s not exactly spring, let alone summer, either. Despite my worry, he decided it was finally time. Anything I said couldn’t dissuade this anxious sailor. The water was beckoning him. My family was in town visiting for my birthday. We’d planned to have a little picnic at the lake (despite the chilly spring breeze) where my husband and brother-in-law would take our little yellow boat out. They left early that morning, long before the rest of us were up and about. My husband was like a little boy, giddy with anticipation even while scraping frost from the hull before they launched. My awesome brother-in-law was a good sport to go along with his antics. We followed a couple hours behind with food and kids in tow. I have to admit it was exciting to see the white sails and the little boat skimming across the water at the end of the lake as we pulled up. The breeze was just right, and the day, though a bit chilly, was proving to be a beautiful one.

We stood and watched, admiring the smooth jibes and tacks for maybe fifteen minutes, then out of nowhere came a giant gust of wind. We stood frozen, horrified as the little boat toppled to one side, the sails dipping into the water. “Oh no. They’re going in!” Grandpa shouted. It seemed like slow motion as we watched the contents of the boat dump into the lake and the mast disappear. Climbing up on the hull and rocking on the keel, they were able to flip the boat back over. It wasn’t more than a minute later that another gust came. Soaked and exhausted, we watched as they manoeuvred the boat back up for a second time. The third followed just seconds later. At this point all of us on shore were feeling a little panicked. No other boats appeared to be out (who in their right mind goes sailing on a cold, gusty, march morning?), and the rangers were nowhere to be found. My husband and brother-in-law, far from the dock, were hanging onto the centreboard and clinging to the mast. Half of their bodies were dangling in the freezing water, obviously well out of much-needed energy to right the boat for a third time. We were clueless as to what we should do, but something needed to be done, and fast.

Right at that pivotal moment a fishing boat came out of nowhere. It must have been hiding at the other end of the lake, because as far as we could tell my husband and brother-in-law had been the lone sailors that morning. Pulling up next to them, the fishermen grabbed hold to their numb arms and dragged them aboard their little boat. The men carefully tied a rope onto the forward pulpit under the water and slowly motored to the dock. Relief would be an understatement as to how we all felt. My sister and I rushed home to get blankets. We knew they would desperately need something, and we had nothing. We collected as many as we could find and were rushing back toward the lake when my phone rang. It was my mom. “They’re headed to the hospital. They couldn’t walk or even feel their legs. When we tried to talk to them they were acting, I don’t know, delusional. Grandpa is driving them to the emergency room right now.” I almost felt sick. “I TOLD him I’d thought it was a bad idea! I knew something like this would happen. Couldn’t he just listen ONCE?!” I admit, I was a little mad, and so was my sister. Then R, only 2 at the time, came on the phone. “Mommy?” His little voice was shaky and scared. “Daddy and Uncle A fell in the water! They go to the hos-tibal. Daddy at the hos-tibal, mommy! Daddy gonna be ok?” A chunk welled up in my throat. “Yes, he’s going to be ok. We’re almost there, R. We’ll get you and we’ll go check on Daddy.”

The ER is not the most exciting place to spend your birthday. It was cold, sterile, and depressing as we walked through the halls to where our sailors lay being treated for hypothermia. I couldn’t decide whether to be angry or sympathetic when the nurse showed me into his room. Whether to slug his arm or give him a hug. At the last minute my sympathetic side won over. He looked so pathetic wrapped in all those blankets and IVs running through his arms. For 3 hours we waited for their temperatures to rise, and finally we were able to go home.

All of us have recounted that spring maiden voyage time and time again, recalling the life lessons that birthday “celebration” taught us. Be prepared. Listen to your wife (one of my favorites 🙂 ). Be patient. Be wise. Forgive always. Don’t take out a new sail boat as a novice sailor without wet suits on a cold day in March. With your brother-in-law. On your wife’s birthday. Ever again.

Out of all the lessons we learned, probably one of the biggest was taught by the fishermen. Out of nowhere they crossed the entire lake to save two goofy guys. They had no idea what the situation was, how bad the sailors were in need, or if anyone else would come along. They stopped their fishing, were perceptive enough to see that my family was in danger, and didn’t wait for another person to step in. What if they’d hesitated? What if they’d decided it was the ranger’s job to save that boat? What if…? That day they were heroes. That day they saved two lives. That day they taught all of us the importance of helping others. Not when it’s easy, not when it’s convenient, even when it’s someone else’s responsibility.

We may not need to rush to the aid of a sinking boat, but we often need to give someone a hand. We often need to open a door, offer a smile, make a call, do an extra job, or send a note. And often it isn’t our responsibility. But ours or not, it needs to be done, and what better person than you? If you don’t, then it’s possible no one else will. Two lives could have been lost that day in that cold, spring water. But because of two fishermen who took the time to notice and to act, my two-year-old boy was comforted by his daddy’s warm arms in the “hos-tibal.” One of the best birthday presents a mother could ask for.


Categories: Life Lessons, Marriage, Motherhood, Sailing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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