Living

Just another boring day? You’re lucky

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Unpredictable events and accidents happen every day. We don’t start the day with a crystal ball; and it is that very sense of chaos and mystery that make life so interesting. Sometimes it is a simple spilled glass of milk, or a scraped knee. Other times of course, the ramifications are much greater.

The sad truth is that not all random events are welcome. Most of us pass the days in a semi sort of melancholy – doing our job, paying our bills, filling the refrigerator; and emptying it again. That is what is known as living life. We don’t typically stop to think how lucky we are, to have just another boring day.

Last Friday started as what should have been a rather special day. My 11-year old daughter hosted a sleepover the night prior for a small group of friends; in honor of one of the girls who will soon be moving. They stayed up late, whispering and giggling. The next morning, after a breakfast of fresh eggs and French toast; they headed out to the pool.

I cleaned up the kitchen and bathed the youngest before grabbing some water and sunscreen to join then. As I was heading out, a frantic young lady came charging into the kitchen. “Aspen’s been hurt! She cut her face at the pool!”

My heart lurched into my throat, but a sense of control flooded into my veins; a familiar feeling that I have learned to live with. I never used to have that guttural reaction to a simple bump or bruise; but that was before.

Ever since losing Jaiden, I have come to realize that anything can happen, and it is best to be prepared.

I ran to meet my daughter, who by now was chanting “Oh my God! Oh my God!” I knew immediately it was serious. Aspen and I share a keen sense of perception, and a very high threshold for pain.

She had somehow managed to dart up from the bottom of the pool and catch her face on the lip of the pool edge. Her nose had a laceration across the center, and where her lip met her nose there was a gaping wound.

One look at the damage, and I jumped into auto-drive. The kids were loaded into the car immediately; in bathing suits and bare feet. In one hand I held the phone which was ringing the pediatrician, in the other I packed a bowl with ice and a towel and headed out the driveway.

Aspen sat stoically in the front seat, with her head tilted back and a cold compress on her face. She just kept repeating “I’m so sorry Mom! I’m so sorry!”

Our first stop was the pediatrician, who instantly directed us to Urgent Care. Her injury was beyond his scope.

I met my husband in the parking lot, and sent the slumber party and our youngest children back home with him. Aspen and I darted out the door and across town.

We were met at Urgent Care by a most amazing doctor. He explained that he was first a parent; and he was going to take care of my little girl.

He sewed her face with the precision of a seasoned plastic surgeon. He was in fact, more capable and charismatic than the real plastic surgeon who eventually removed those stitches.

He calmed us both, and spent ample time explaining how to care for her wound to minimize any scarring.

In hindsight, I am so thankful that I inadvertently postponed an appointment for Aspen to have braces put on her teeth just two days prior.

At the time I was not sure what exactly made me postpone the inevitable, but in hindsight I know I was influenced by Angel Jaiden.

If Aspen had been in braces at the time of her accident, her entire upper lip would have been severely mangled, and possibly shredded beyond repair.

Instead, there was a simple straight line that was neatly sewn and will probably one day fade to the point that only Aspen and I will know it is there.

War wounds make us who we are, and only add to the beauty of our character.

We spent the weekend babying her stitches and avoiding the sun. It was a welcome change to stick close to home and feel no pressure to be anywhere, or entertain anyone.

My first day back to work, I drove in early to prepare for my students. Traffic was horrific, and I remember feeling a little irritated. Until I realized what the hold-up was.

As I passed by the McDonalds in Merrimack around 7:20 am, I glanced back at the remnants of an earlier accident. A large SUV had collided with a much larger plow truck. Immediately my eyes stung with a fierce burning sensation and my throat closed. My hand flew up to my mouth, and I think perhaps I cried out.

I knew without being told that someone else’s day had just been irrevocably changed by one random incident. I felt a wash of anguish come over me; and I said a silent prayer for peace and strength to all the families involved.

I thought for a moment how my day had been darkened last Friday. I was so upset, and feeling such sorrow for my beautiful daughter; yet she never broke stride. She has not once shed a single tear about any potential scarring, nor mentioned how unlucky or unfortunate she was.

Instead, she told me that she kind of liked the two scars on my face. And her older sister chimed in to tell her how tough she is going to look on the soccer field this fall.

They both see the glass half full, and they both know how to juggle those unpredicted mine-fields that life is filled with.

We don’t need a crystal ball to predict, or dictate our futures.

We just need to remember each and every day, that today really is the first day of the rest of our lives.

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