Friday, December 08, 2006

Hazards of Motherhood

Spencer has been grounded the past week and it's nearly killed him--eight inches of new snow and he's in stir. Today he made parole and as there's only an hour of daylight after school's out, he quickly grabbed his snowboard and David and headed for the neighborhood hill. It's a ten-minute walk and the boys have made the trip tons of times, summer or winter. Though I had had reservations at first about letting them go by themselves I reassured myself by saying, "Didn't I do things like this when I was a kid? Heck, we used to play by the train tracks." This afternoon I hardly gave it a second thought.

Half an hour later I got a phone call. A man's voice introduced himself and said he had my boys with him in his truck, that David had been hurt and could I please come and help them?

Five minutes later I was there. They'd been sledding and David (why is he always the victim?) took a snowboard to the face. There was blood. Lots of blood, as only head cuts can bleed, and I found the two boys sobbing from the trauma. I am good under that kind of pressure. Something in me makes me look carefully and quickly at an ER moment and say, "You do this, I'll do this, and then we'll do this." So it wasn't more than a second before I had them and their gear in the car and was on my way home.

In the light of the living room I had a hard time telling what was cut and what was blood but once I got him washed up I determined he had an inch-long clean cut across his lower lip, the kind that just pop open and might need stitches but could probably be handled by a butterfly and some superglue. However, the real damage was inside. His lower gums were blood-red from the bruising, his teeth had punched through his lip from the inside, and his upper mouth was cut and bleeding where his baby cuspid had been knocked up into his gum.

I doctored him up, calmed him down and called the dentist. Everything will be fine, though it'll take a bit of healing but my point is this: one of the first things to go through my mind when I saw his injuries and could think a clear thought was, "I shouldn't have let them go up there."

I wondered if the man who'd called me thought I was Attila the Mother, who let her boys wander through the neighbor doing things as dangerous as snow boarding without a license and getting picked up by strangers. I thought, "Maybe I'm letting them do too much too soon. Maybe they need to be closer to home. Maybe . . ." But then something else happened.

While David and I were doing our emergency run to the dentist we didn't say much--he was hurting and nervous and kept to himself . When he broke the silence he sullenly said (with a great deal of difficulty), "I'm never going sledding again."

"Well you can't stop sledding because of one accident." I paused, "You like sledding, wouldn't you miss it?"

"But this was scary," he insisted.

I said as gently as I could, "I know, but it's just part of life. Sometimes these things happen. Luckily you weren't hurt too badly but winter wouldn't be much fun if you stayed inside forever."

He wasn't entirely convinced, but I was. They hadn't been behaving foolishly, it was just a silly accident that couldn't have been prevented and with all that blood and panic and screaming from his brother Spencer had had the sense to stem the bleeding, walk up the hill, find an adult, ask him if he had a cell phone and give him our number to call me. Not a bad response for a ten year-old.

He curled up on my lap with his ice pack for an hour and I ached to see him in pain. I'll protect them as best I can but I don't want them viewing the world from their bedroom window. But maybe I should invest in some mouth guards.

18 comments:

Lou said...

I have this theory that no matter how much protective gear you wrap them in, they'll still skin the one exposed area lol!

I'm glad you didn't get too down on yourself. As a mother, blame is so easy to heap on yourself.

Anonymous said...

I don't even want to think about the trouble I was getting into at the age of 10. Those were the days...

It's hard to raise kids when the world has changed so much in one generation... I'm glad you didn't beat yourself up about it too.

Hsien Lei said...

Wow. What an adventure! I'm glad you are all ok. Everything heals and now you know the boys know how to take care of themselves if something happens. Hope David heals quick!!

Anonymous said...

If I had a dime for every time I almost KILLED myself growing up on the farm, I'd be a rich rich rich woman. ;) Glad to hear he at least took it seriously and didn't decide it was the coolest thing he'd ever done. I know kids like that and they scare me.

Anonymous said...

You are wonderful.
Well handled, the accident and the instinct to keep him at your side forever...but not. You are a brave Momma. I am so happy you are all okay.

Anonymous said...

You work well under pressure. I go into that mode too, but after my kids go to bed I sob like a baby. I can handle everything until I see my husband ;) Then I become a blubbering idiot.

I am so glad he is ok!!

goslyn said...

I'm so glad he's ok. I bet he'll be back on his snowboard in no time. Blood + Kids is alwasy scary.

Leslie said...

I agree with you. As much as we want to keep our children from getting hurt, protecting them too much prevents them from really living and enjoying life.

I'm glad he's alright and I hope he's back to sledding soon!

Kristin said...

It is so scary... I want my kids to go out there and play and run their pants off... but, I also want them to stay inside playing cards with me!

Kim Priestap said...

Aww. Poor guy. He'll be snowboarding again in no time. Some day the two of you and the rest of your family will laugh about this.

Chichimama said...

Everyone did a great job! I don't know that we would have handled it quite so well!

Glad he is doing OK (and you too!).

Anjali said...

Glad to know you're both ok.

Ballpoint Wren said...

Scribbit gal, you are calmer than I am in emergencies!

You're right about the mouth guards!

Julie said...

I can sympathize with the whole internal mother angst debate. But Ethan's worst injury thus far (and how I hope it's his worst EVER) was when he was walking across the playground into school and slipped on the ice. We visited the dentist that day too (4 teeth knocked out!). So there's really no way to keep them completely safe. Unless you never let them leave the house, and don't think I haven't suggested that one a few times.

I hope David heals quickly and gets back up on the horse, um, snowboard soon.

Waya said...

You are much braver than I am my friend. I would have fainted at the sight of all that blood and I'd be the one to tell him that he can't ever snowboard again. I know, if I can put my kids in a bubble, I would but I can't. Oh, it hurts just reading about this. Poor kid. Hope he feels better soon.

scribbit said...

Update: as of the following Monday he's looking normal again. The huge bruises are gone off his face and his gums look better. Tooth still hasn't come down . . .

Damselfly said...

Wow, I hope he's OK!

cndymkr / jean said...

It's dealing with this sort of dilemma that makes being a mother so damn hard. But they handled it and didn't panic = kiddos to Spencer.