A week ago Sunday, Boo fell and hit her head on her bedrail (she’s fine, after a run to the ER for some stitches that are already out and we’ve moved on to Mederma). It was not our first trip to the ER, but it was our first encounter with a head injury and blood. The injury itself and its aftermath knocked me off balance for the rest of the week. I instantly became a helicopter, trying to catch her before she falls again, making that cringing intake of breath sound every time she got too close to anything that wasn’t soft. She’s fearless, but evidently I felt it necessary to make up the difference.
Besides what was going on in my head, I didn’t get stuff done around the house. All I wanted to do was keep her from getting hurt again. Don’t run! Slow down! Be careful! I didn’t make dinner. I didn’t do laundry. I just disconnected from the domesticity for a few days, and I’m only just now catching up.
When Something (note the intentional capital S…) happens, it’s so easy to let it take over. And that’s OK for a while, I think. We needed a few days to absorb what had happened. It was a minor injury, yes, but there was a shocking amount of blood (YIKES) and my little girl had this awful (oh it looked TERRIBLE) wound right above her eyebrow and I was so worried about how it would heal. There’s so much to worry about, so many unknowns. When we don’t know how that Something is going to turn out, it’s so tempting just to shut down. How can we possibly think about keeping a house clean when we’re so immersed in a really serious situation?
When the initial emergency is over, and you’ve done everything you can do to make it as OK you’re able to and you’ve handed it over to the experts, don’t drive yourself nuts reliving it. Don’t “what if” yourself to death. You are not helping by becoming a lunatic. Pacing a waiting room, nervously dwelling out loud about how it impacted YOU and YOUR situation is not productive, and when there is a crisis, your energy is best devoted to being productive. Full disclosure? Monday after Boo’s accident, I think I actually made things worse by being so agitated. I couldn’t sit still, so neither could she. At the end of the day, we were both utterly worn out. We would have been better served by me not trying to protect her from the entire universe and just allowing her to establish her own pace (as long as she wasn’t running STOP RUNNING OMG SLOW DOWN!!!).
It’s hard to let go, to relinquish the care of a loved one. I felt terrible guilt that the person who was able to make Boo all better wasn’t me (although he was a very nice PA who has a 3 year old himself, and admitted to keeping a suture kit at home because these things happen). I lost sight of the fact that making sure she was OK was the important part–we made sure she was OK. We got her into the hands of the right people in an incredibly short amount of time. Mr Incredible (who totally lived up to that moniker) and I were a team, and we each played our role to the best of our abilities. And when we were calm (at least on the surface in the ER), she was calm. There was such relief in that realization.
There is also comfort, at least for me, in routines. I think I rediscovered my schedule on about Thursday, and it was so helpful to me to have an identifiable starting point. “Today, I clean the bathrooms and I will do a load of laundry and I will deal with the pile in the kitchen (that was out.of.control) as my one extra thing.” And it worked. I didn’t spend time wondering how it would all get done. It will all get done. And we are OK. And Boo is OK too.