I realized last Monday my kids are not 100% safe in my care. When I watched my 5-year-old run to me with his horrifyingly broken arm, I quickly observed there was nothing I physically could do to help my child and he needed medical assistance. NOW.
Frantically calling 911, I shouted over the screams of little Raymond, cursing the echo my phone was making which sent back the sound of my own hysterical voice.
"Calm down," I told myself.
Hanging up with the dispatcher, I told Raymond the ambulance was on its way.
"Help is coming," I told him. I searched around for my daughter who was standing right behind me, our 9-month-old puppy next to her, both visibly shaken.
"Raymond is hurt," 3-year-old Anne said.
"Yes, he is, but help is on its way! We get to ride in an ambulance today!"
Calling my husband was next on my scattered to-do list and as I scrambled for my shoes, I held Raymond's arm to his chest,
"Hug your arm. Hug your arm," I told him calmly.
At the sound of my husband's voice, I panicked and yelled through the phone,
"RAYMOND REALLY,REALLY BROKE HIS ARM I CALLED 911 SO YOU HAVE TO COME TO THE HOSPITAL RIGHT NOW!"
My raised voice re-frightened the children who began to cry again.
I hung up the phone realizing I had no idea what hospital we were going to and would have to call Peter back.
Desperate to hear the ambulance siren, I gathered Raymond in my arms, stuffed my cell phone in my pocket and grabbed little Anne's hand. I told the puppy to stay and closed the front door to wait for the ambulance on the porch in case they couldn't find our house.
Less than 2 minutes had gone by since my call to 911. Through my son's painful whimpers and my promises to make him feel better, I heard the glorious sound of the ambulance.
Grabbing hold of my kids, I breathed a sigh of relief and said a quick thank you to God that someone was coming to help my baby.
Anne and I ran up to the ambulance and I placed my first-born into the arms of a willing stranger, knowing in my heart he would help. Climbing into the ambulance, the paramedics stabilized Raymond's arm.
What amazes me is what my son said next...
"Mama, I don't want to cry anymore. I am going to do my breathing."
(Just to clarify, we encourage breathing in our house to calm down when we are frustrated or angry...)
Stunned, the paramedics and I looked at each other and half laughed.
"Wow! You are doing a better job than some adults!" said one of the paramedics.
"Great job, buddy. Do your breathing," I told Raymond, holding his hand.
The guys went back to helping Raymond and I sat back, looked at my daughter and whispered, "You're doing a great job, too!"
Her sweet face looked up at me as she rested her head on my shoulder and said,
"Is Raymond okay now?"
I wondered that myself and reassured us both that Raymond would be okay. One quick ambulance ride to the hospital and 9 hours later, my husband and I pulled into our driveway with a sleeping Raymond in the back seat.
"Safe at home," I thought and immediately pulled my words back. Was Raymond safe?
I foolishly thought as long as my kids were with me, they were safe from everything.
But they are not. Yes, I can watch over them like a hawk and keep them in a what I think is a protective bubble, but even then, accidents happen.
As powerless as that makes me feel, I realize my kids will have to go out into the world by themselves and trust the caretakers around them to help them in times of trouble.
When do you stop worrying about your kids when they leave the "safety" of your arms?
Raymond was back to his normal self just 24 hours later, which is a testament to the resillience of children. Arguing with his sister and setting up his train tracks, he was already using his hand through the clumsiness of his splint.
It's taken mama a good week to get back to normal...
I do want to express the great appreciation I have in my heart for the people who helped my son: the paramedics, doctors, nurses, my neighbors, my family and the anesthesiologist who did not seem to mind me asking him 1,000 questions about putting my son under when they set his arm. God bless you all and THANK YOU.