When Scott got home, we stood at the bed putting together our outfits and folding clothes for the suitcase and debating which bag to check (and possibly to NOT HAVE in our possession when we reach our final destination) and which to carry on. I looked at him and said, "I'm just feeling a little overwhelmed today..." Within five minutes, I had a whole new perspective of overwhelmed. Funny how life works that way.
As we packed, we heard the laughter and rumble and tumble of our two healthy children playing in the living room. And actually getting along, I might add. I thought nothing about it. I'm not the over-protective, frightened mom who doesn't want the kids to play rough and have a good time. I do set boundaries, but they're fairly simple, and it didn't sound like any of them were being crossed. And then I heard it. A gasp from David. A momentary hold of breath from Madalyn. And then the horrific cry of pain. Within moments, I knew we were heading to the hospital for stitches. I couldn't tell how long the gash was, but it was open enough for me to know she needed some medical attention. And it was bleeding. And bleeding. And bleeding.
Apparently, my children were playing one of their favorite games ~ their rendition of the show Wipe Out. If you haven't seen the show, I pray you won't start watching it, especially NOT with your children. If you would like to check it out (outside of their presence, of course), you'll be immensely entertained with the average ordinary people who try their skill on running an obstacle course made up of over sized bouncy balls and padded platforms and lots of foam and water.
As they played, David tripped or fell and in the process pushed Madalyn into the column that separates the den and the dining room, the sharpest edge in the entire room (perhaps the sharpest exposed edge in the whole house). Her little head hit at just the right force and angle to slice it open and to bleed PROFUSELY. Everyone knows what they say about head wounds and how much they bleed... yeah, it's true.
Once I got Madalyn and David and Daddy calmed down, I quickly deduced we needed to take a ride to the ER. As much as I hated it, from the looks of it, I could pretty much tell that she would require a couple of stitches to close up the cut. I couldn't bear the thought of holding my baby girl down while a stranger put a weird shaped needle and thick thread through her tender scalp full of infant fine hair. I had to push it back - push it to the back of my mind - so I could deal with the present, with the logistics of getting her to the hospital with a blood stained wash rag pressed to her scalp while keeping her calm without being able to touch her.
We made it there with Daddy and brother trailing shortly behind us so that they could leave to get to bed in time to catch the bus at 7:00 in the morning. Madalyn had many questions mainly about what they would do and what the hospital was and if she'd have to stay the night. And though my mind was racing with the thought of staples and stitches and shaving a spot of her little baby head, I remained calm and upbeat and positive and answered her questions as best I could reassuring her that she would NOT being staying the night at the hospital.
We got in fairly quickly, and the doctor we were assigned was fantastic. He suggested stitches, and said he would numb her up real good before beginning. So I prepared myself for my duty of being calm, cool as a cucumber mom of the year. The only time she cried was when he did the numbing shot. Of course, he had to stick her twice - once on either side of the wound. That was definitely that toughest part of the whole night... hearing your baby cry, knowing she's in pain, knowing it's the only way, and not being able to do anything about it. She was laying there, head positioned so that I had one big brown eye looking at me. Her eye would widen and the black pupil would scan all around and a big alligator tear rolled out. Broke my heart.
Once she was numb, we were all good - me, her, and the nice ER doctor that had to sew her up. In fact, she was so numb, she didn't even know he had begun with the needle and thread. I just told her he was still cleaning it up and talked to her about getting to skip school the next day and eating at Dairy Queen. When all else fails, I can always take my kids' minds off a bad situation with the sheer mention of Dairy Queen. They are my kids, after all.
On this morning after, we have dried blood in our hair, a ginormous goose egg, a new friend (a handmade teddy bear with a label on the back that says Made with Love by Riverchase Church of Christ) that the security guard in the waiting room gave her, and three pretty stitches in the scalp. We've also got one frazzled and tired Mama who is struggling with the thought of leaving my wounded baby girl to travel West tomorrow. I don't know what I am afraid of... I think it's more the thought of me not being able to see her with me eyes, to know that it's healing well, to know she's not in pain. It's a matter of motherly control. It's completely selfish on my part, knowing I won't be able to relax and have a good time if she's in pain and away from me. Sounds crazy even as I type it, but it's the truth. I just plan to keep my eye on her throughout the day today and make the decision later.
I am so thankful it wasn't worse. Just a few inches to the left and she would have toppled down the stairs head first and landed on the wood floor in front of the door. Could have been much, much worse. And it made me realize that my quest to get out of town as fast as I could was so shallow and self serving. I long for ME-time... I long for a break from the monotony of my day to day in small town Alabama folding clothes and scrubbing toilets and reading mindless kindergarten sight word books and assisting with 4th grade math homework. But I love my family and my life... I really do.
So today, I am thankful my baby girl is good and resilient and tough. And I am praying that the answer of to go or not to go will make itself clear in the hours of today. And I am praying that my kids will no longer have the urge to play Wipe Out...