There's nothing in the world that makes you more thankful for what you have as when the life of someone you love passes before your eyes. Yesterday we celebrated a most relaxing and lovely day enjoying Valkenburg with Erwin's family. It was oma's birthday celebration and we battled the crowds watching the Amstel Bike Race to tour the caves, ride the cable car, and go on the bobsled ride. We sat on the terrace for coffee and took in the warmth of the sun. And then we headed to a wok restaurant for dinner which was a delicious feast. It was a really terrific day.
Then, as we sat at the end of the evening drinking coffee while the boys played on the playground equipment, Kaeden ran to me with the news. My baby had fallen off the top of the slide. I remember saying "Oh, no" as I quickly ran to the playground. My legs carried me to where my son was laying on the ground, and his tears were rolling down his face as he sobbed. He wasn't responding to me when I told him to look at me, and my hands began to shake as I pulled his face to look at mine and watched his eyes come into focus, asking him where it hurt. I was scared to move him for fear that he could become paralyzed, yet he was wriggling around and I finally picked him up. He was in shock, but seemed relatively okay. Still, as the family made their way outside to see what all the fuss was about, I held firm that I was taking him to the hospital immediately. Jari was still crying and complaining of his back, heart, tummy, and hand hurting as I loaded him into the car and we headed on our way.
I sat in the backseat trying to keep my baby awake when all he wanted to do was go to sleep. I made little jokes and sang funny songs as my hands shook and my heart beat double time. I looked into his face and told him time and again that he would be okay. Erwin drove quickly and when we arrived at the hospital, I carried my son in, told the reception desk what had happened with a shaky voice, and they quickly ushered us into the room. The doctor came in to examine Jari and he told him nothing hurt but his hand and his heart. We were taken to get xrays, and by then Jari seemed fine.
When the doctor came back into the room, I was already assured that Jari was fine. He was once again acting like my little rambunctious boy, looking at the medical equipment and asking questions. The doctor told us there was nothing broken and to go home and watch him for the next few days, give him tylenol for pain. And then, 30 minutes after we arrived, we were out the door and on our way home, mommy smiling with relief.
Still, in those first minutes after Jari fell from the slide, my entire life flashed before my eyes, and so did that of my son. And in those moments when fear pushed me onwards, I recognized that I have much to be thankful for. I have two happy, healthy boys that keep me on my toes and fill me with sunshine. I have a husband who rushed me to the hospital even when he didn't feel it was necessary, and I had my in-laws racing through a red light behind us to get us to the hospital where we could all relax from our stricken worries.
As I look back over those few moments of our wonderful day, I know that Jari had an angel standing by his side. He could easily have been seriuosly injured, or even had a broken bone. He could have died from a fall such as that. But he didn't have a thing wrong, and as he shows me today how he can hop on one foot, as he lines up his dominoes counting his numbers, and as he asks for oatmeal with raisins and apples czuse he's so hungry, I feel such relief and gratitude.
And I am thankful for Kaeden, who did everything right and came to tell me immediately that his brother had fallen, acting positively even as he was himself shaking in fear. As I tucked him in last night he told me he was so scared when he saw Jari fall, and that his heart was pumping. I told him that I was proud of him and he did exactly what he should have done, first comforting his crying brother, and then coming for help.
And then I think about me. I felt very uncomfortable letting the boys go play without an adult to supervise. And when I was outside playing with Jari, I told him numerous times to be careful because the slide was fast and the steps were only a tiny iron bar. And yet, I left them there to play (not that I could have stopped him from falling...that could have happened anyway). I need to learn to listen better to my mommy instincts. I need to be strong enough to say NO, you can't play here until mommy can come with you. I need to recognize that when I smell fear, I should react to it and not wait for that fear to become a reality. I was lucky. But I also learned some very important lessons. 1) Listen to my instincts 2) I have much to be thankful for and 3) I have two really terrific kids that have been trusted in my care and I love them to pieces. I don't want to have a life without them in it. And I'm glad that at least for today, I don't have to.