It Only Takes A Moment

It’s been busy here lately, and rather than blog utter crap I haven’t blogged at all.

Today, though, I felt like blogging even though I’m not sure what I have to say. Lucky you (or not). We’ll find out together whether there’s a story here. Today, there’s no editing. No over thinking. I’m going to set some words free and then I’m pushing that “Publish” button.

I was already a bit behind on blogging, my focus needed for family, life and some other writing endeavors. I felt like I was moving at warp speed, focusing on all of it and none of it simultaneously.

Then, around 6:15 Monday night my world stopped momentarily. The blog, the writing, my life and everything in between disappeared.


We were sitting at dinner, about to give the boys their little Valentines treats. P, who is 21 months old, was strapped into his booster seat, and the seat was, of course, strapped to the dining chair. In his excitement over presents (“Prays!” he says), P pushed his feet against the table and launched straight back, like a tree falling in the forest.

And let me tell you, it makes a sound when the tree falls. It sounds like a clap of lightning followed by screaming. So much screaming.

I launched out of my own chair, my husband later noting that I looked like a cartoon version of myself, feet spinning, the air moving like a tornado around me. I bashed my arm on another chair, my hip on the table, nearly slipped, and narrowly missed falling on top of my wailing child, who was still strapped in his chair.

Mark and I reached P simultaneously. Mark undid the buckles while I scooped P, mouth wide with a scream, into my arms. Instinctively I put my hand on the back of his head. Within a second or two I registered warmth and wetness.

Blood. And lots of it.

According to witnesses (okay, just Mark), my face went from Mom-Fear-Thinly-Veiled-as-Mom-Comfort to Blank to Panic in a sort of slow motion montage.

We assessed the wound and realized that an ER trip was imminent. As only parents can do, we put on our grown up pants, made our faces calm and our voices even. We rallied older brother, H, into the car and gently loaded P into his seat.

I had this bizarre internal debate with myself over strapping him into his car seat. I wanted to hold him, but I knew that I could not risk further injury should we have an accident on the way to the ER. The debate didn’t last long, but deciding to put him in a car seat made me ache, deep in my chest, down through my gut. The mom soul.

Once again I was reminded that there is no end to a mother’s ability to feel… what? To feel pain, guilt, fear, doubt. And to feel strength, courage, faith.

The rest of the story is standard fare, thank God. P calmed down as soon as the car started rolling. He talked about the lights and cars we saw on the way, and I was reassured. A mother’s mind automatically goes to brain injury when her child’s head splits open. It was comforting to hear him chatter, to see him coherently take in his surroundings.

In the end, P got two staples in his head. He took them like a champ, sat up and said, “Home. Night-night.” Mark and I looked at him and said, “Yes, sir. That is exactly what we have in mind.”

And then I choked back a sob of grateful relief.

This was not our first trip to the ER. It was not even our first trip with P. Twice before – before this most recent incident – I’ve felt time freeze and had fear render me temporarily blind, numb, breathless.

Twice, and now a third time, we’ve been abundantly blessed. The accidents, while scary in the moment, have been mild. Things often look way worse than they are. Yet another lesson motherhood hands us.

In my life with this little daredevil, danger magnet, I’m sure there will be more scary moments. And I will never be prepared for any of it. How could I be?

My prayer, though, is that it’s never scarier than this. That when it’s all said and done, we’ll be laughing, joking about our little Massive Headwound Harry, and saying prayers of thanksgiving that the world only stopped for a moment. And that once it started turning again, we were all whole, healthy and together.


  1. Oh wow! That is really scary! I can imagine how hard it must be to put your child in the carseat when all you want is to hold him! He does sound like a little daredevil!!

  2. That sent shockwaves through my body because my dad died from falling backward like that. You are so blessed that everything turned out the way it did. Hug your sweetie closer for me.

  3. Oh, honey! My heart stopped when I was reading this. My hubby and I have always been afraid of this happening with SB. So we positioned her chair on the side of the table close to the wall, hoping it would catch her fall. Our table is a high boy, too, so it would be a long fall.

    SB rolled off the bed when she was an infant, hit her head and lost consciousness. I thought she was dead. She came to but I could not keep her awake. ER is close so I took her myself. She was fine. It took me a LONG time to recover.

    This stuff comes with the territory, doesn’t it? Whether we want it to or not. Glad everything turned out OK!

  4. I just saw the tag Massive Headwound Harry and it gave me a much needed snort laugh today.

    Sorry you had to go through all of that. It sucks to see little ones hurt or sick (the flu is making the rounds here). But looking back it’s almost comical how fast we can spring into action when we need to. R was choking once and immediately turned blue, and I jumped up, flung her tray off her highchair, yanked her out, and turned her over to pat her back. Out came a piece of avocado, which the cat promptly ate.

  5. What a horrible, gut-wrenching night! Boys will be boys and they will always make our hearts skip a beat!

  6. Oh Jesus, Missy!!! How horribly scary! I’ve been in similar shoes – raced down to Dell Children’s when Little CEO slipped on our kitchen floor and her head slammed backwards…then started throwing up.

    I am so glad he is okay. he is going to make you SERIOUSLY prematurely gray, that one!! Wow!

  7. I haven’t conquered a trip to the ER yet. Hopefully, with a girl, it will be more infrequent. So glad everything turned out alright. What a scare!

  8. No, no, no Missy! I am so sorry. Weren’t we talking about The Girls tendency for head wounds just last month? I am so very sorry you and Mark had to go through that. Glad P is good now.

  9. Oh Jeez I would rather you not blog for a MONTH than have that kind of story for blog fodder. So glad everyone is ok.

  10. There is just nothing worse than a head wound. Stops your heart. I’m so glad he’s okay.

    Our middle girl was nicknamed Danger Girl for her ridiculous lack of limits and fear. Our trips to the ER were many. Her worst was the time she was jumping on her big girl bed. The words had just dropped out of my mouth for her to stop before she got hurt and down she went, face first into the wooden backboard of her bed. I saw her head snap back and then that awful cry, the one that tells you this is bad. My hubs, the cool headed one in our partnership, got there before me. He said three things to me: Don’t look. Get a bath towel. We’re going to the ER.

    She’d split her chin open so deeply the chin bone was exposed. I was also eight months pregnant.

    I was so furious that we had to wait at the ER. My daughter was covered in blood. I was covered in blood. Bones were protruding and yet we had to wait.

    When we did get back, we could hear what was going on, on both sides of us. On one side was an infant who’d been rushed in by her parents. She had a fever and they were worried because she was scheduled for open heart surgery in two days. The other side was a toddler who’d had a severe asthma attack.

    I was ashamed of my ignorance and grateful that all we needed was a profusion of stitches and then life would simply return to normal.

    So true, that in the scariest of motherhood moments we discover our real blessings.

  11. Those moments are so scary. And your right, a moment can pull the switch in your head and like dominoes your emotions move from comfort to scared to panic. I’m glad all turned out relatively well.

  12. Blood will always put you completely over the edge … altho I was once told, that its better if a headwound bleeds. Supposedly less chance of concussion or fluid buildup.
    Sounds good in theory right!
    Glad you survived your not so romantic Valentines … tell your hub you need a rerun – just the two of you!

  13. Whew…so glad he’s ok! I would have melted down if that would have happened to my son.
    Once, my son was running and hit the corner of a table. He split the corner of his eye and I panicked. I’m an ER nurse and I panicked!

  14. Oh Missy I am SO sorry. You know (cause we talked about it) that I have one of those guys too. One has never been injured, one had stitches 4 times before 4th birthday. It’s hard not to feel like you must be doing something wrong. But some kids are just like that. So glad P is OK! I don’t think I would have done too well with all that blood, you are very brave.

  15. Poor little P! So glad he’s okay and that it was not more serious! And I know what you mean about wanting to hold him on the way to the ER. I would have wanted to do the same! xo

  16. I’m so glad he is ok! I can only imagine…time would have absolutely stopped for me, too.

  17. Oh, poor mama! That is soooo scary! That fear is like no other!

    Thanks goodness P is OK and took his staples like a champ!

    I grew up on (too much) SNL and your Massive Headwound Harry reference brought back some memories. :)



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