So in my last post I made the bold statement that I could handle the usual childhood traumas involving blood or other injuries in a calm, efficient manner. Stomach fluids are the only thing that really gets to me, I asserted.
Unfortunately, it appears that I must now qualify my claims of grace under fire. It seems that I can muster my inner Scarlett O'Hara only when I am witness to the injury. Otherwise I fear that I seem to muster my inner "chicken-with-it's-head-cut-off." I'm not quite as bad as that sounds. But until I know exactly what happened and the severity of the injury, I am a wreck.
This was clearly revealed to me about a week and a half ago. My family was attendig my Dad's union picnic. As the annual raffle was starting, a friend noticed that someone's ticket was stuck to the lid of the drawing barrel. I hopped up to fix it, leaving Sister Goldenhair sitting next to my mom. As I was about to return to our table, I heard SG begin to wail. I saw my mom holding her and assumed that SG had tried to follow me and was told no. SG is two, and "no" is the kind of word that can quickly conjur tears (in both of us). As I got closer I still didn't realize that what happened was more serious than hurt feelings.
But then I saw Sister Goldenhair's face, covered in blood. It seems SG had indeed tried to follow me, but got her foot caught on the picnic bench and face first in to the cement slab underneath. Her chin took the brunt of the blow and she very nearly bit through her bottom lip. The bleeding was profuse. I tried to use napkins to absorb the blood and ice to dull the pain, but it was useless. I was useless. Mimi was also on hand and I asked both mothers/grandmothers if I should take her to the ER for stitches. Another mother in crowd came over and said the same thing had happened to her grandson and three stitches were needed.
I would have been a bit panicked even if I had seen everything that happened, but the not seeing made it so much worse. I tried to get a firm hand on that inner-headless-chicken. Granny and Mimi helped talk me down, and the bleeding finally stopped. No stitches were needed and SG would be running around happily later that same evening.
There was a turning point in the whole situation. A moment when Scarlett O'Hara began to win out over the chicken. When SG realized through her pain that I was there. She called out to me, and I took her in my arms. She calmed down quite a bit, and so did I. I was still tense as I asked Granny and Mimi what I should do, but in those same moments I had some peace. I knew that I had done something right in my life if this sweet little girl found comfort in my arms. She even fell asleep once the bleeding had stopped. I held her close for so long that afternoon that my arms hurt for several days afterward. Usually I would have passed her to a grandmother, but I could not seem to let her go.
I do not know if I'll ever really be able to let go of either of my girls. They are such perfect gifts from God. Part of the danger in loving someone so much, is that the potential for hurt is so much greater. Sometimes in my life, I have been able to pull back from someone to avoid being hurt. But not with my girls. All my cards are on the table with them. We are never guaranteed another moment on this earth, so if nothing else I want them to always know that they have my love.
P.S. This was SG's third union picnic. At the first (when she was only a little over a month old) she was stung and bitten by a yellow jacket. Her whole arm swelled up. Last year she was unhappy about needing a nap. After this year, I think we might be forced to reevaluate our attendance of this particular picnic.