"Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." ~ Elizabeth Stone
I've always liked this quote, but it's come to mean more to me as my boys grow and we experience more of life together. Watching our children go about their lives is like watching our own hearts out there, feeling and hoping and worrying and wondering. Life is an adventure, with expectations and surprises and all kinds of ups and downs. Today I was reminded just how vulnerable we are, we parents who dearly love our children ...
We started our day at the doctor's office, where the older boys underwent their annual physicals. (Earlybird's visit is later this month; he stayed home with my mum this morning.) Everything went well during the exams - our pediatrician is fantastic, and both Bookworm and Crackerjack checked out A-OK. But before we could go, CJ had to get two vaccinations (ouch!) and both boys were sent down to the lab for routine bloodwork.
So we found ourselves waiting at the - extraordinarily busy - lab, and as we waited, I asked Bookworm if he was ok going in alone or if he wanted me to come in with him. He assured me he was fine to go in alone, and so in he went after being called, and Crackerjack and I continued to wait.
But just a minute or two later, from inside the lab we heard someone shouting, "Help! Help! Help!" and techs came running from all over. For only a very brief second did I worry that the fuss might have anything to do with my son. There were plenty of people in there having blood drawn, and some were elderly and frail. But suddenly a woman came out to the waiting room to find "Bookworm's" mom. She asked me to please come with her, and to leave my younger son behind. I knew immediately something had happened to Bookworm and - oh my goodness, my friends - my heart just froze. I turned to Crackerjack (who was white as a sheet, eyes wide as saucers) and assured him everything was ok, that he should wait for me there and I would be right back.
When I entered the lab I immediately spotted Bookworm on the floor, passed out cold, with people all around him. He was slowly coming to but there was blood everywhere (or so it seemed to his frantic mother's eyes at the time). Apparently Bookworm, upon first seeing his blood being taken just up and fainted, falling out of the chair to the floor (jostling the needle and making the blood go everywhere). Friends, I should tell you right now that Bookworm is absolutely fine, but let me admit - it was an awful experience to see my boy on the floor like that.
Thankfully, he came to right away, though he was obviously disoriented and absolutely ashen. The lab techs (all wonderfully kind, helpful people) moved him to a reclining chair and got him some juice. I stayed with him and comforted him, worried over him - all the while thinking of my other son left behind in the waiting room who was most assuredly a nervous wreck - as much for himself as his brother!
And sure enough, when I went to get Crackerjack he was rather emotional, and he became even more so when I brought him in to where Bookworm was resting. I explained what had happened but stressed that his brother was all right - he just needed to rest. There was an awfully nice lady helping us out - she stayed with us and kept us entertained (distracted) with funny anecdotes and random questions for the kids. Soon enough, Bookworm was able to stand and was assisted out to the waiting room. I stayed with Crackerjack who was being prepped for his bloodwork. The poor kid was understandably a bit panicked, but thankfully - after insisting he NOT look at the needle in his arm - the tech was able to take his blood smoothly.
Our drive home was quick - Bookworm sipped on his o.j., leaning his head against the open window along the way. Once home, he ended up getting sick a couple of times (fraying my maternal nerves a bit more) but after some rest and a few cool facecloths, he soon perked up and by lunchtime was feeling 100% fine.
So yes, this was quite a morning ... once things settled, I declared it a "sick day" - more a "mental health" day for me! - and we took the rest of the day off to recoup. And here we are now, in the late afternoon ... Bookworm's in the next room humming and snapping his fingers and talking to Crackerjack about some Lego creation they've built. The household energy is back - life feels balanced again.
But oh, my heart felt so fragile today - I felt it right there on the floor beside Bookworm, and it was beating so fast and with such fright. Like the quote at the top of my post says, it's not mine anymore - my heart now resides in my children - wherever they go and whatever they do. Whatever happens to them, it happens to me. Sure it might be safer kept tucked inside - but how much would it miss if it were? Well the answer is everything - it would miss everything. Every up and down, every bit of this great big adventure. It would miss it all.
I'm sorry I'm getting a little sappy here, it's just ... to know that what happened was an anomaly - not something harmful or life altering - is a great, big, blessed relief. But as I savor that relief, I am mindful of those parents whose children are injured, missing or seriously ill. And my heart breaks for those who have suffered the unimaginable loss of a child. I cannot possibly know their worry and grief, but I can offer them and their loved ones my heartfelt prayers.
I'll wrap up now but thank you, as always, for stopping by. My friends, hug your children extra tight tonight, and let them know your heart is always with them - everywhere and anywhere. In this life and the next.
*Goodnight and God Bless*