“Mum I’ve had an accident, I’m bleeding real bad”
These are not words that any parent wants to hear, sadly, they were at the end of my phone the other morning. The day had begun just like any other day, the morning rush, the organisation of who is going where after school, who is riding their bike, who needs a lift, don’t forget your hats, where are your shoes – normal chaos of most Australian families trying to get everyone off to where they need to be for the day.
I’ve just finished checking my emails and just picked up my coffee mug to head to the staff room to get my morning coffee to aid in the functioning of the day. My phone rings, I see it is my eldest child, for a nano-second I contemplate answering it – whatever is at the end of that phone is going to have an impact on my day, probably entailing me to leave work, no, I better answer it, there might actually be something wrong.
After hearing those words I race out of school in the general direction of where I will find my injured son, grabbing just my car keys and informing my Principal as I hurriedly catch her helping children out of their cars. I drive into where I think he is, nope, no sign of him, my heart is pounding so hard I can hear it, I try to gather my thoughts and I breathe in and out slowly, trying not to envisage the worst that this situation could bring – I know that he is reasonably okay as I have spoken to him. Perform a U turn when possible, it is a small town, why is there all this traffic? Where is he?? I pull up further down the road and park on the verge – give me a parking ticket if you must, I must find my injured son. Why has nobody pulled up to help him? Where is he?
I take to finding him by foot, screaming his name, passers by must think I am crazy, which by this point I’m starting to believe them. Where is my injured son? I must get to him. I see one of the children from my school riding towards me, he informs me that my son is just down the path, I run as fast as my heeled boots will let me, I lay eyes on him, he is hobbling towards me. He is upright. He is in one piece. I breathe again.
He is bleeding from his whole right side, except his head, thank goodness. He hobbles back to the car. Clearly shaken. I scoop up his bike, his helmet, his phone and meet him back at the car, his bike seat is 90 degrees to the right, I can’t physically turn it around. He manoeuvrers himself into the passenger seat, I dismantle the bike to put it in the car, we head straight to the doctor’s surgery.
He starts to come out of shock and we share a little joke in the waiting room. He is seen by the doctor and then sent into to be cleaned up by the nurse, she spends a while pulling gravel out of his knee and elbow. We are sent off to get X-rays on the knee and arm. We return back to the doctor’s surgery to wait for the results. No broken bones. So grateful. Home to rest and nurse the bruises that will soon appear and the grazes and scratches. He is safe. I’m so grateful.
We were thankful for the medical treatment we received almost immediately, we didn’t have to pay for any of the medical attention that he received and I was back at work by 10:00a.m. – so much to be grateful for!
Sadly, I was a little under the weather this week, my middle child was sick last week and I think he decided to share it with me, although our symptoms were quite different we both did suffer with a huge amount of sluggishness, and struggled to simply stay awake. I have always said that minor illnesses like a cold or a bug are our body’s way of telling us to slow down – I didn’t slow down, I came to a complete stand still.
I was glad once again that I had created independent children and they were able to get themselves organised and off to school whilst I drifted in and out of slumber. The next thing I knew, they were back again – oh my goodness, did that day just pass and I didn’t even get out of bed? The children argued and fussed in the kitchen whilst I hid my head under my pillow – how could they be home so soon?
The next challenge in my day was to get two of them to tennis (and then back again). I began to mentally prepare myself for this monumental task – I began my return to normality by the simple act of brushing my teeth, this act then required a little lay down before I actually undertook the immense act of driving them to tennis – do they understand what this required on my behalf? Let me tell you, firstly I had to locate the keys as they were not in their usual spot (grrr), then I actually had to drive the car – as we all know, this activity involved me to be rather alert – I had to recognise and act on red lights, I had to turn the steering wheel, whilst I engaged both legs in different actions simultaneously (OMG) and engaged in light conversation with my children. The whole return journey was approximately 5 minutes long. Upon my return home I fall back into bed beginning the mental preparation to go and pick them up in an hour and a half!
As I laid in my bed recovering from the 5 minute journey that was tennis drop-off, panic entered my body – these children are going to want to be fed at some stage before they put themselves to bed!!! Panic, panic, panic. I start to mentally go through my cupboards and freezer – perhaps they could just have pasta, although even the thought of boiling the water for that filled me with heavy feelings of lethargy. I hated to do it, but it was going to have to be chicken and chips from the take away shop, it was the best I could do in this situation.
As I reflected on the illness that was, I’m okay with the decisions I made – it was the best I could do in the situation. At the time, I felt that I was completely ignoring them, but in hindsight (a beautiful thing) this situation just made them that little bit more adaptable to accept and embrace new or unknown situations and it allowed them to build another tiny piece of their own independence. My children didn’t go without, they knew that I was doing the best I could in the situation that had presented itself, they knew and always know that I love them and will always do my best for them, despite the every now and then curve ball.