I’ve been avoiding this blog post.
Every time I go through my notes, I skip past the ones for this post.
Well, no day like today, right?
June 12, 2017, my husband was in charge of cooking dinner. I dragged Little Dude’s high chair into the kitchen so I could multitask, feeding him teething biscuits while I unloaded the dishwasher.
As my husband wrapped up dinner prep, I decided to get Little Dude out of the chair and cleaned up before we ate.
I unhooked the high chair, then plucked a gooey, sticky mess of a teething biscuit off of Little Dude’s shirt. I turned away to rinse my hand at the sink, then turned around just in time to realize I had left the high chair strap unlatched.
My stomach still sinks as I remember that moment.
I looked at Little Dude. He looked right back at me. I lunged for the chair, even though I knew what would happen before I got there.
I watched Little Dude fall to the tile floor in slow motion. I still get sick to my stomach thinking about it.
I freaked out.
Freak out doesn’t even do it justice. I thought I had killed my son.
Even when he started crying, and kept crying hysterically (and, thankfully, didn’t exhibit any signs of trauma like losing consciousness or vomiting), I kept thinking that he was going to die. That we had worked so hard to bring him into this world only to lose him through our own carelessness – no, my own carelessness.
I was that frantic 9-1-1 call that night – the stereotypical ones you hear on the news. I paced. I cried. I cursed.
And I immediately started beating myself up about this. It was all my fault. I would never forgive myself. I couldn’t be trusted with my own son.
It took the paramedics roughly 5 minutes to get to our house, and less than an hour later, we sat in the hospital ER. We drove ourselves – that was my first clue that this was going to be okay.
But here’s the real kicker: As we sat in the waiting room (they didn’t even call us back right away – another clue that this was going to be okay), Little Dude looked right at me. With one eye wide open, one practically swollen shut, face still wet with tears and head bulging with a baseball-sized welt, he smiled at us – a great big, classic Little Dude grin.
I learned several lessons that night.
First and foremost, I learned that maybe I need to scale back on the multitasking.
I also learned that every mother has a story like this one, because they all started sharing their stories with me once they learned what happened. Even our own parents fessed up to times when we’d been rushed to the ER. My father-in-law told us, in a matter-of-fact way, that this wouldn’t be the last time. Strangely, that comforted me.
So while part of me wanted to just keep this memory off the blog, another part of me wants the rest of you out there to hear one more story about a time a mom screwed up. Because when – not if, but when – you screw up and think it’s the end of the world, I want you to know we’ve all been there too. It sucks, and you’ll kick yourself and blame yourself and have a rough day/night/week/month/whatever. But nobody blames you.
Not even your baby. Your baby already forgives you, before it’s even over. I know, because that big grin I got in the ER tells me so. And that is the greatest lesson of them all.