The fact that our youngest will turn ten in a matter of days is a display of God’s grace equal to Daniel surviving his slumber party with a lion pride. Same. In fact, just last night she crept into the kitchen, clutching her hand with parallel streamlets watering her cheeks, “Mama, I was doing something I wasn’t suppose to, and now I’m bleeding.” Turns out, that whole curiosity thing just may talk you into opening your padre’s pocket knife and slicing up two of your digits.
That’s only the latest installment of Campbell’s mishaps. Girlfriend is no stranger to bodily harm, and I haven’t always been the best at protecting her……from herself……or me, for that matter. I’m not expecting any Mother’s Day surprise awards ceremonies this weekend because I have a well-stocked library of mama missteps that will pretty much keep me out of the running for a thousand years.
I won’t be mom of the millennium…
1)…because my Woman-Baby was locked in the driver’s seat of a running car. After walking with a friend and her son, sixteen month-old Campbell and I returned to our car to find the back left tire flat. Chris was out of town, so we called a dude friend who installed the donut tire and gave me strict instructions to drive to the nearest tire shop. Sweet Thang and I ran in and explained our dilemma; tire specialist friend accompanied us out to inspect the situation. I cranked the car, blasted the a/c, parked Campbell in her seat, closed the door, and proceeded to formulate the plan with said tire friend. Without my notice, that precious dumpling of sweetness climbed into the front, stood in the driver’s seat and began to turn knobs; the windshield wipers slapped, and then I heard the click that immediately captured my attention. She had found the automatic locks and cackled at her electronic prowess. Locked-in baby swiftly railroaded flat tire plans, and I stood like a overzealous imbecile trying to coax my child to unlock the door. I defaulted to the American-yelling-at-a-person-who-doesn’t-understand-English-but-surely-volume-assists-comprehension card. Thankfully tire friend was also skilled in baby rescue. Never mind the fact that I had to phone Carson’s preschool director to explain why I would be late gathering my other child. I’m not sure she felt confident about releasing older nugget to my care.
2) …because I never gave thoughtful consideration to all that young ones can shove up their noses. Campbell was two. She and I were heading out for a few errands before my favorite time of day – carline with a toddler (I feel you, young mama). We stopped at the convenience store just outside our neighborhood (I will not tell you that I left her buckled, locked the car doors, ran in to grab a Diet Pepsi – I could see her at all times – and was out in less than two minutes; I am currently shaming myself for you. Feel better about it). As I backed out, Campbell began to cry the hurt cry, punctuated by mounting panic. I pulled back into the parking space and got out to survey the situation. A Honey Smack up the nose. Yup. Tiny enough not to be a choking hazard but just the right size to shove up your nostril. Our pediatrician’s office was closed for lunch, but the on-call nurse instructed me to be there when they re-opened if it had not dislodged by then. Living on the other side of town, we began to drive in that direction. I was frantically making arrangements for Carson to be scooped up by a friend when…………”At-choooooooooooooo!” I’ve never been so grateful to almost lose an eye to a Honey Smacks bullet.
3)…because I was party to Super Gluing my baby girl’s forehead shut. You actually read that correctly. My Women-Children and I were browsing the racks at Old Navy when Campbell tripped and caught the sharp edge of some shelving mid-way her forehead. The blood. The screaming. I dissolved into a mama puddle beside her three year-old little self. Thankfully, the Old Navy employees told me she probably needed stitches, so I didn’t have to determine a course of action out of my very own brain. It was almost 4:45, so we barely made it before our pediatrician’s office closed. We saw another doctor in the practice who confirmed that stitches would be in order; however, they did not stitch up injuries in the office. I would have to take her to the ER. And they aren’t known for the compassionate stitching of tiny people, he continued. It was after 5:00 by then. He contemplated a solution and then threw it out there. “In Vietnam,” he began, “it was not uncommon to use Super Glue to seal cuts out in the jungle.” I turned my head, lowered my chin, squinted my eye, and slowly processed his words. “……So if you want to run to Tommy’s Quick Mart just around the corner, buy some Super Glue, come back, I’ll clean the cut really well and glue it.” I laughed in disbelief as I hauled my two children to the car and headed to Tommy’s.
“Excuse me, do you carry Super Glue?”
Super nice Indian man said, “Let me look.” He searched behind the counter. “We have Crazy Glue.”
“Is that the same as Super Glue?”
“Well, what do you need it for?”
Giggling at the absurdity of my life, “You really don’t want to know.” He returned a questioning look. “My daughter’s doctor is going to glue her head shut.” He then returned bug-eyed terror. It’s all good though; it healed beautifully and she barely has a scar. The more you know.
And don’t think our Carson has made it her thirteen years unscathed.
4)…because I prayed the wrong prayer. Back in the day when my gals wore bows, a nauseous quantity of pink, smocking, whales and turtles and apples and frogs galore, I regularly prayed, “Lord, please make my girls wise and spiritually mature far beyond their years.” How noble of me. I failed to really think that prayer through. Have you ever had that experience? Where you rethink a prayer after you begin to see God answer it, and you’re like “Whooooooaaaaaaaa…this isn’t exactly what I had in mind….” Had I really thought about it, I would have known that spiritual maturity and wisdom do not come from the likes of the Tooth Fairy. A pink, sparkly figment of their imagination doesn’t swoop in, flying in loops, leaving a flight trail of fairy dust and endow them with spiritual maturity and wisdom while they dream of Reese’s eggs and more TV time. Wisdom and spiritual maturity beyond our years has an uncomfortable price tag. They are by-products of hardship. And to be super real, sometimes as parents we decide we want to protect our children from God. He is building my babies into fierce women but it’s painful and scary to watch. After thirteen years of parenting, I realize life will beat them up enough on its own; there’s no need to rush God’s purposes.
So, young mamas who still have a fighting chance, throw that babe on your hip while you chat strategy for your flat with tire friend, be vigilant protectors of your children’s nasal passages, stick a tube of Super Glue in the diaper bag (I totally should’ve glued Campbell’s fingers last night – dang it!), and pray an abundance of joy over your little people. Mamas, I love you; be celebrated this week [pounds heart with sideways fist and points at you]!
For more Mother’s day fare, read about one of my very worst days as a mom (and you thought the ones above were disastrous… :), the night my saint mom loved me through my own bad choices, and why banana pudding holds a special place in my heart.
[title image: Haylee Sherwood]