Some days just call for some venting.
(not to be confused with ‘ranting’…)
It all started this morning when, in a mad rush to get all 3 children and myself out the door by 9:00 for a super special Christmas homeschool party at Grandmother’s house, I realized that not only had Rebekah somehow gotten poop on my bed, she had dropped a small pile on my bedroom floor on her way there. Don’t know quite how that happened with her diaper still intact, but there you have it.
(Sorry for ratting you out online Rebekah, but…don’t poop on my floor).
I will go into greater detail about the party in the days (or months?) to come, but I will say that Gideon left me stretched a tiny bit thin with some less-than-stellar behavior at my Mom’s house. Nevertheless, by the time we loaded up into a church van to deliver freshly-baked cookies to some of the workers in our church, we had found peace and obedience, and a jovial spirit had been restored. We were having such fun!
But as we were loading up to leave the third house on our route – I was looking off into the distance while waiting to climb into the front seat with Miss Sunday – I realized that she was screaming in my arms. I scanned her body trying to find the source of her pain when I noticed with no small amount of horror that her left-hand index finger was inside the hinge of the van door that had just been slammed shut. She had apparently been poking her finger into it without any of us observing her and when the door slammed, so did the space that held her finger. I began yelling “Open the door! Open the door!” When at last it flew open, she withdrew her finger…
It was a flat mess, mangled and disfigured and I began to just say “Oh my God!” over and over again as my brain tried to register what I was seeing. I’ve never seen anything like that, especially on my beloved-so-much-it-hurts-me Rebekah Sunday.
My baby girl? Broken? But weren’t we only moments before laughing and petting a cat on the front porch?!
We just happened (i.e. grace and sovereignty of God) to be at the home of our church pianist, who is also one of the most knowledgeable nurses we know. My Mom whisked Rebekah inside as I took a moment to comprehend what I had just seen. A minute later, emotions in check, I joined them and held Rebekah in my lap as Miss Jana fixed her up with a bag of ice and instructions to get to a doctor – that little chubby finger wasn’t looking so good.
The next 4 hours were spent ministering to my little girl. I held her the entire time – in the car, at the clinic, in the car, to the pharmacy, in the car, at the hospital, in the car, on the couch…I think being in my arms made her feel brave and comforted; having her close made me feel the same way. She was an angel, especially after we gave her that first dose of pain medication. I couldn’t help but get tickled a few times as she conversed with the hospital staff…I think she was a bit loopy.
We are still awaiting x-ray results to determine if she just got a bad smush or a bad break, but in the meantime, this is what I learned today:
1. It doesn’t matter if it is a critical life-threatening injury or a bad boo-boo on one finger…stuff like this takes a lady immediately back to the fact that her children are mortal and that life is very, very fragile. One minute you can be singing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” and the next you are rushing to the hospital, and what do you do in those scenarios? What course of action do you take to ensure that your children will be alright? Nothing. None. There is absolutely nothing to do but cry out to God for mercy. I felt so helpless today as my baby girl looked to me to understand why her finger no longer worked. I felt wounded today by the reality that we live in a fallen world where beautiful days can be marred by pain and tears. I felt saddened today by the fact that, cautious as I am, there is nothing I can do to make sure that my most precious babies do not get hurt. And at the end of the day, it just made me very glad that I worship a big God who knows what is best for me and who is always, always good. I don’t think I could sleep at night – especially tonight – without that knowledge and comfort.
2. I shared our sad news on facebook and four hours later had received 33 comments of condolence…over a hurt finger. And my eyes filled with tears as I inwardly rejoiced to have friends who care about me and my family and then sacrifice time out of their day to pray for us. Then I rejoiced in the knowledge that we live in a blessed nation, where children are cherished and things like smashed fingers cause us to all to send our love and care and sympathy. We’ve spent the last two weeks studying the life of John Paton during our Sunday night Bible study – he was a devoted missionary to a pagan people who unashamedly killed their babies, who strangled their wives, who beat their children…he buried his wife and newborn son by himself…and here in my small world, 33 people are sad that my daughter hurt her finger today. And the only explanation for that is the grace of God and the message of His Word. (And this is why it is SO IMPORTANT for us to study Christian history and then count our blessings while thanking those who sacrificed SO MUCH to get the gospel to the ends of the earth – thank you, John Paton. My heart breaks for you).
3. Pollyanna was right and the “glad game” is always applicable…
I am glad that we were at a nurse’s house when Rebekah got hurt. I am glad that the clinic is right across the street from Mr. Gore’s office and he could be there to meet us. I am glad for pain medication, even if it tastes – and smells – yucky. I am glad to hold my baby close in a moving vehicle just this once instead of strapping her into her carseat. I am glad for a day spent with one of the genuine loves of my life, Miss Sunday. I am glad for x-ray machines to tell us what is going on underneath the skin. I am glad that she didn’t lose her finger, for crying out loud. I am glad for Sonic french fries and ice cream and that my ever-conscientious girl took a bite for her and then gave a bite to me all the way home. I am glad that my Mom helped me clean house tonight. I am glad that Amy kept Gideon for me until close to bedtime without my even asking. I am glad for the movie “Tangled” for keeping my little girl distracted and happy for almost four hours. I am glad for a quiet family night around the fire, watcing “The Muppet Christmas Carol” while coloring and eating popcorn and drinking chocolate milk. I am glad that she is sleeping soundly at this very minute. I am glad that God hears my heartfelt prayers for my little ones and for things as small as their hurt fingers. I am glad to be a part of a community of believers who love me and who love my children. I am glad to be a mother even though I didn’t know heart-pain like this existed until today…
4. As the mother in this situation, I discovered the formula for getting through traumatic situations with my kids.
Step 1: Take a moment to let the shock of what is happening kind of sink in.
Step 2: Jump into gear, take care of the traumatized and don’t stop until the trauma is over and all your children are asleep for the night.
Step 3: Return to step 1 and let the rest of the shock sink in as your either cry your eyes out or bare your soul on your blog.
I obviously chose to do the latter, but if you’ll please excuse me, I think I shall go do the former right now, although not with as much vehemence as I would have if I had not first bared my soul.
Ahhh, my venting is complete. And truly, thanks for listening…
P.S. We learned this morning that Miss Sunday did indeed break her finger – the x-ray reading sounded just awful…”crushed”…”shattered”…”growth plate affected”…but this afternoon, our prayers were answered through the mouth of a very kind orthopedic doctor…”no surgery”…”no cast”…”2-3 week recovery”…
And guess what?