If you would have asked me this past Saturday at 7:00 p.m. how my Halloween was I would have told you it was the best ever. Now, I’d tell you it was the worst.
It all started on Friday with the kids’ Halloween party and parade at daycare. It was so much fun to be with them and see them parade around in their costumes. This year my crew dressed as the Toy Story gang of Woody (H), Jesse (J), and Buzz Lightyear (L). Friday night we carved pumpkins and Saturday we celebrated Halloween with a trip to Boo at the Zoo, where the kids got to trick or treat with the animals.
Saturday night Todd had to work so I took the kids trick or treating. Watching J and H run off to each house was so much fun! We spent the rest of the evening handing out candy. The kids were having a ball, even L who seemed to be loving his first Halloween! I was in one of those moments where I was so happy, so grateful to be a Mom and experiencing this with my kids.
But soon my perfect holiday came to a crashing halt…literally. Around 7:30 p.m. the trick or treaters started to die down, which was good because my little Buzz Lightyear really needed a bottle. I sat on our family room couch feeding L a bottle. J and H were chasing each other around our couch. They have done this activity probably 1000 times in their lives. To me…it was harmless…they were burning off the sugar they had eaten and laughing all the while.
Suddenly behind me I heard a sound I fear will haunt me for many years to come. It sounded like a loud crash, followed by a scream from H. I quickly turned to see H standing up after hitting head first into our closed glass fireplace doors. His face and t-shirt soon were covered in a blood. It was the scariest moment of my life. The blood was everywhere. So much that I couldn’t tell where it was coming from. I glanced over at the fireplace doors…thankfully the glass was in tact. He must have hit the handles that open the doors.
The next 5 minutes was so chaotic it is almost a blur to me now. I had H screaming in pain, J screaming in fear, and L screaming in hunger. I felt alone, hopeless, and afraid, almost frozen wondering what to do. My motherly instincts however took over in spite of the fear. I quickly grabbed a towel, made J hold it to his head and threw L in his car seat. We ran out the door so fast that I actually didn’t even shut my door.
The 2 minute ride to the hospital seemed like 25. H had stopped crying and I had dabbed the blood enough to know it was coming from a large wound in the middle of the forehead. I was trying to keep calm for my kids, but it was hard. I couldn’t stop my tears or my hands from shaking. I ran into the hospital, carrying H in one arm, L in the other and J was running behind me with my purse. Thankfully the crowd waiting for the ER could tell I was in way over my head and let us go to the front of the line.
I then spent three hours with my three children in the emergency room waiting for H to get stitches. I of course was an emotional wreck but tried appeared as calm as I could. I know stitches are no big deal, I’ve had them many times, I’ve seen my family members get them a million times, but this was the first time one of my babies had ever gotten hurt to this magnitude. Sure we've had our near misses over the years…but now here we were.
Although I was a wreck, surprisingly H was acting like nothing happened. Every now and then he would see a tear on my face and would come to me quickly and give me a hug: “Momma, don’t cry. I’m okay”.
I kept rewinding the night in my head, hearing that sound over and over…what if he had gone through that glass? Why didn’t I stop them from running? Did he trip on a toy I had neglected to pick up? Could I have prevented this?
For about 2 hours we waited for the stitches. The kids watched TV. L sealed his award for the greatest baby in the world as he stayed quiet for me even though he was hungry and tired. The doctor finally came in and I knew it was time for stitches. It was the hardest moment of my life because the doctor pulled me aside and told me that it would probably do more damage to J to be in there with me, than H to be in the room alone. And since I couldn’t be in two places at once, she advised I take L and J out of the room and let them care for H. No mother should ever have to choose which child to help but I was forced into the situation and walked out with J and L. H screamed so loud for me I could feel my heart breaking…but I also couldn’t ignore the fact that J was literally shaking. She was terrified, especially when after a few minutes of screaming for me, H started to scream for her. I knelt down to her and covered her ears the best I could. I had never seen a 4 year old shake like that…I never want to see that again.
Finally, the hospital Chaplain came and took J, L, and I out of the ER and into the waiting room. Unbeknownst to me, the nurses had called her and told her I was by myself with a hurt toddler, a tired baby, and a scared big sister. She said when she heard that combo she ran as fast as she could to the ER! She spent some time with J and made her feel much better. After what felt like a millennium the nurse came to get us and I went in to H. I swooped him up and hugged him close. The first words out of his mouth were: “Mommy, I missed you…can I have a Popsicle?”.
We finally got home at 11:00 p.m. I put the kids to bed. I hardly slept a wink that night.
I realized that no matter how good my life is…I can’t take it for granted. It can change in a heartbeat. H will undoubtedly have a large scar on his forehead from this incident. But his scar in a way is good for me: it will always remind me to cherish every moment, do all I can do for my kids, and of course always stop them from running in the house!