Earlier this month, I went on the Azalea Trail in central Houston. It was a beautiful way to spend a few hours - soaking up the first springtime rays of sun, taking in the gorgeous flowers, and touring some of the most beautiful and stately homes I’ve ever seen. At the time, it didn’t occur to me, that these gorgeous buds were the preliminary warning sign that pollen was headed our direction in a big way.
As an allergy sufferer, I feel the pollen in every way - sneezing, itchy eyes, watery eyes, headaches, congestion and sluggishness. You name it, I'll blame in on the pollen, and after weeks with gallons of pollen everywhere, my body had enough. Seeing the intensifying level of discomfort, my sweet husband decided to give me a night off from everything. He fed me, fed the kids and then sent me off to bed so I could rest, relax and get a good night's sleep. What a guy, right?
Well, unfortunately, no good deed goes unpunished.
Our kiddos have been using our shower at least two nights a week for over a year now, so my husband thought nothing of letting the boys play in the shower themselves while he got our daughter ready. I had been in bed for about 10 minutes, and I remember thinking how cute it was to hear them play sweetly and genuinely enjoy each other’s brotherly company. Then I heard a thud … more like a “WHAP!” I held my breath and thought, “Uh oh … this could be bad.”
A quick second later there was a small, but sharp scream from the shower and then silence. I jumped out of bed, and as I ran into the bathroom, I kept waiting for the rest of the scream to come. My poor Cooper was holding his head and trying to scream, but nothing was coming out, which moms know is the worst kind of cry. Once he locked eyes on me, the screams came, and I saw blood was streaming down his face.
Without thinking, I ran into the shower, scooped him up, and tried to assess the damage. It was bad. He had a gaping V-shape cut running straight through his eyebrow, and I knew we needed to get on our way to the ER. It was a long seven hours at the hospital, and the process of cleaning and tending to a wound like that on a 2-year-old was every bit as awful as I thought it would be. During the worst of it, he screamed, “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!” "STOP!" and “Hold you please!” while we did our best to keep him still and let the doctor and nurse do their jobs. We cried together.
In the end, our sweet boy needed four stitches across his little eyebrow, and we headed home emotionally and physically drained. On the one hand, I felt like it was almost an accomplishment to make it through six years of parenting without stitches, surgery or broken bones, but on the other hand … OH, the mommy guilt. How dare I lay down while my kids were awake? Clearly, they need to be watched every waking second of the day, and I failed them. Those are the thoughts that flooded my head on the drive home, that and “Thank God it wasn’t worse!”
The next day, my dad took me to lunch and patiently listened to all of the night's details and let me vent it out. I still felt awful and told him, “I just wanted to get some extra rest, but I let him down!” (Enter pitiful sniffle here). Then he told me, “God makes babies out of rubber for a reason, and accidents happen, honey.” As much as my head knows he’s right, it takes my heart a little longer to catch up, and I'm working on that. In the meantime, I'll continue to count my blessings … but no more showers.
Jordan Schupbach is a mother of three living in the Houston area. She blogs at www.lattesandliving.com - sharing the good, the bad and the frenzied.