Have you ever wished and prayed for something and when it happened you just knew it was because of your efforts? Have you also had horrible things happen and perceived you must have done something wrong to deserve this? I had one of these “magical” moments this past weekend.
I don’t tend to splurge often but over the holiday weekend I went a little crazy. I bought clothes for myself and Kerry. Very exciting, I know. We also bought a standing slackline – which all people, regardless of age, should be introduced to (I’ll post directions to my house another time).
The last purchase I made was a little gift to Kerry known as the Vew Do Balance Board. Basically it is a skateboard that rests on a cone. You have to try to keep yourself upright without busting your head open.
Typing this makes me realize how ridiculous this gift was if you are a practical person. I, in this moment, chose to abandon practicality and go with super-fun-husband-dad-Brad…the family tends to prefer him.
We returned from the holiday weekend. Elliot decided to play with the new toy. Perfect. That’s what it’s for. Unfortunately, he didn’t realize that it is just a bit harder to do on a slanting driveway.
Gravity won. His head lost.
The night progressed without any major problems until bedtime. Sometimes Elliot will make complaints as a means of staying up. I’m sure most parents are shocked to read about a child trying to find a way to stay awake later in the evening. Yet, this was a little different. He had pooling tears that wouldn’t stop. He complained about a horrible headache. The crying was different. It was sincere. I remember when my kids were infant and toddlers and you could truly tell a difference in the type of crying. This time it was serious. I soothed him until he fell asleep. I figured we would reset with sleep and all would be good the next day. Man, was I off.
4 am and I awoke to Elliot crying and holding his head. He confirmed that he hit his head falling the day before. I immediately perceive he has a TBI – traumatic brain injury – and has a cerebral hemorrhage that will end in his death. Yup. That’s how my brain works. Impressive, I know. It takes years of worrying to perfect such lunacy. To top it off, I then started thinking, “I killed my kid by buying him that toy.” Yeah, that’s not crazy at all.
Kerry brought him to the emergency department. I stayed with Teya. Following a long list of text messages asking for updates, Kerry pointed out I needed to chill. Strep came back negative. CT scan – negative. Turned out he may have had a concussion but also was dehydrated. Water. That was the main issue. Water led to a hospital bill. Can’t wait to see that “water” bill.
This is how my brain works.
One second I am worried that my son is going to die because I went shopping and the next second I am worried about the bill and pissed that he didn’t drink enough water the day before. I am pissed at him and then pissed at me for not paying attention and supervising better.
The reality of the situation for me is that I prioritize the safety and security of my family almost to an imperfection. I would do or, in this case, pay anything to make sure they are fine. Once I was sure he was okay, I was ready to kill him because of the amount of money an ED visit with a CT scan was going to cost me. A funny thing how anxiety works. We create such contradictions in our thoughts and actions. Even if there was something wrong, it wasn’t my fault. It would have been an accident. Things happen to kids. It is ridiculous to tell kids you want nothing to happen to them. They need to live life and try new things, take risks and go on adventures, and face and overcome their fears. That is living.
Avoiding everything because of something possibly happening is not living. It is surviving cautiously.
I’m happy my son played with the toy and I hope he does again. I’m happy that the CT scan came back negative. The financial cost was worth knowing that his brain was not bleeding – that’s always a good thing to know. He didn’t deserve to be hurt and wasn’t being punished at all. I’m still a good dad. He was simply being a boy who forgot to drink enough water. I’m sure we will be a bit more hydrated in the future and we definitely won’t stop adventures and play, even if that means a few more trips to the ED.
Live. Play. Love life to the fullest.