just a mom figuring it out one day at a time

Keeping up Appearances- Part 1

Sitting at the dining room table, I hit the “next” button and waited for Microsoft to go through its next round of “updates” to my new laptop. I didn’t know which was worse, seeing the blue screen of death on my six-year-old laptop and knowing that I couldn’t retrieve anything off of it- or the endless process one goes through to update a new PC… My thoughts and frustration were interrupted when KC appeared in the room.

“Mama, can I go play in the sprinkler with my friends?”

“Yeah, sure honey” I said with a preoccupied wave of my hand.

With that, she turned and dashed back out of the room into the adjoining living room and landed with a thud. The screams that ensued had me racing towards her, unsure of what I was going to find. She had clearly landed with some portion of her face into the edge of the glass coffee table. Before I could clear her mass of light brown hair, already sticking to the blood on her face, I wondered if she had lost teeth or damaged an eye. The room felt uneven and I unsteady as I pushed the hair away to reveal her face.

I looked into her light brown, terror filled eyes. Thankfully they were OK, I scanned her face down to her mouth. Her teeth were all still intact. But beneath her left eye was a long gash which ran from her nose, horizontally across the ridge of her cheekbone, past the end of her eye. The insides exposed like the flesh of a squashed tomato.

Taking a deep breath, I tried to calm her. But like any child who winces and demands a bandaid at a papercut, seeing the blood that accompanies a head wound- is well, enough to insight a panic attack. However with the aid of my ten-year-old, CJ, and my husband, within minutes I had gotten an ice-pack on her face, secured care for CJ and we were on our way to the emergency room. Most importantly, KC was calm.

Our time in the pediatric ER was amazingly good. While there we quizzed the nurses about who might be on staff to perform the sutures and even questioned the PA who helped us. Ultimately it was thought that her wound was fairly clean cut, would respond well and we did not need to call in a plastic surgeon. A little voice inside of me questioned it, but with numerous reassurances we proceeded on. KC, the trooper that she was, remained remarkably calm through the whole process. Maybe it was the warmth of the blanket they gave her, or she was in shock, I really didn’t know, but I was grateful. She didn’t cry or complain, but sat there quietly- which if you know my daughter is perhaps the most remarkable thing.

Once the sutures were in, six in total, they asked if she want to see what she looked like. With a emphatic head shake of “no” this part of the process was deferred… at least for now.

Later, after we had returned home to a warm bowl of her favorite “mac-n-cheese,” prepared as an act of goodwill by her brother, KC was finally ready.

“Mama, will you come to the bathroom with me?”

My back turned towards her, I wondered if she was feeling shaky. “KC, do you need my help?” Turning towards her, I could see this wasn’t about my help. She was scared.

“No. I want to see, but I don’t want to do it alone.”

I squeezed her shoulders and enclosed her hand in mine. With my other arm I turned on the lights and dimmed them slightly so the light wouldn’t be as harsh. She walked in, headed towards the mirror and for the first time since the initial injury I saw tears in her eyes. “I look scary Mama.” She said as she turned away from the mirror.

Burying the good side of her face into my chest, I held her and told her that she didn’t look scary, but rather like someone with a bad “boo boo.” Inside my heart simply broke.

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