Two and a half weeks ago, we had our first family trauma. Kells (two years old today!) fell off of a step, and his bottom teeth cut all the way through his chin. There was blood everywhere, and he was screaming and crying. We rushed him to the closest ER and had a terrible experience with a doctor who was clearly NOT good with kids, nor did he care to TRY to be good with kids. After two failed attempts to glue the wound shut, with Kells screaming and kicking and gushing blood from the inside of his mouth, and after they had accidentally glued his lip to the wound and had to actually PULL it off of the gash, ripping it open again, the doctor comes back in and says he would have to stitch it up. They put Kells in the little papoose, and I held his head while they stitched him. The whole time they were sewing up his face, he was screaming and crying “help me, mommy.” We were at the ER for four hours (with all of our other kids ((and their life-saving grandmother)) in the car). I left the hospital sick. Kells had finally calmed down and was asleep on the way home. I was so sad, so upset, so disillusioned by the way everything was handled. It was an eye-opening experience for me.
I spent the next few days completely on edge, trying to keep his wound clean without hurting him, trying to keep him from realizing that he wasn’t able to eat solid food for 24 hours by making everyone sneak into the kitchen at different intervals for meals and letting him have movie picnics all day long, trying to keep him happy. I was nervous that the inside of his mouth was still bleeding, that he would choke on his blood, that his wound would get infected, that they did such a bad job that the stitches would have to be redone… When we got home and got everybody in bed that night, Randy and I just looked at each other and hugged. I couldn’t believe how much it hurt.
It was only two stitches.
It made my heart ache to know that now I am a parent. And that I love these little helpless children so much that something as small (in the grand scheme of life) as two stitches (a very commonplace childhood experience) could hurt so bad. It was one of the most painful experiences I have ever been through.
His face is healing up. He has a hard knot where the incision was, and the wound has changed his little smile. It is slightly crooked now, which endears him to me even more. Since I realized that it is ok, that it isn’t infected, that the stitches came out painlessly, etc., I have been so relieved. But I have been thinking so much about parents who have children whose issues do not resolve. How much it must hurt. And to think of parents who have actually lost their children. I can’t even begin to fathom how deep the ache must go.
Kells is my sweet boy. Today, we took him to the zoo for his second birthday. It was a long, hot, sticky day. The kids had a glorious time. Randy and i were happy and tired. At the end of the day, I am so thankful to have four healthy, beautiful, children. I am thankful that we have been parents for five and a half years, and two stitches is the worst thing we have had to live through. I’m thankful for my children’s beautiful faces, for their beautiful skin, the beautiful expressions on their faces. I am thankful for their laughter, for their heart-lightening smiles. I am so thankful for the joy that children bring. On Kells’s second birthday, I love my beautiful boy more than ever. I will cherish every season of his smile.