This is Not a Drill

Momservation: If you can make it through childhood without stitches, breaking, fracturing, or spraining something, you didn’t have enough fun.


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I think right up there with the fear of coming out of the bathroom with your skirt stuck in your underwear, is a mother’s fear that her instinct was wrong and a trip to the emergency room was in order rather than a band-aid, a kiss, and instructing “just shake it off.”


It’s interesting how lax you get as your children get older. When my kids were little I thought a paper cut needed stitches. Any fever I was sure was the first stage of the West Nile Virus. A rash – the reemerging of Small Pox. A bump on the head, I was waking that kid every 20 minutes and checking pupils.


I’m not sure when it happened, maybe after the first set of stitches. Maybe after the dislocated elbow. Possibly after seeing my son crash his dirt bike or a giant goose-egg rise out of his forehead. But at some point I realized my kids were pretty tough. They took a lickin’ and kept on tickin’. I could keep them bubble wrapped on the couch or I could let them be kids and deal with the injuries one band-aid and kiss at a time.


I can’t tell you how many times my kids have gotten hurt and I quickly evaluated and determined only a band-aid, kiss and hug, or ice was needed (it’s a well known mommy fact that band-aids, kisses and an ice pack cure almost any ailment).But in the back of my mind was always this nagging fear, left over from the overprotective early years, what if I’m wrong and this isn’t just a drill? Would I miss the signs of a real emergency?


Enter my daughter, Whitney. Age 8 and thanks to her older brother, Logan, tough as nails. Those two play like puppies and in the ensuing rough-housing Whitney has lost two teeth, gotten two stitches, dislocated her elbow and had countless other injuries all in the name of a little fun.


I was sure that out of my two kids, if there ever was a broken bone, it was going to be Whitney and somehow involve her overzealous brother.


Well, I was right on one count. It was Whitney, but her brother had nothing to do with it. Although she said, “It was at his baseball game, so I can still blame him.”


It ended up being a playground injury – she slipped off a bar and broke her fall, and her arm.


At first when Whitney came up to me, not even a tear in her eye, to tell me she hurt her arm and thought it was broken, I nearly brushed it aside ready to remedy with a kiss. Especially since I was engrossed in the excitement of Logan’s championship game. No tears, no big deal.


But after I got her some ice, thinking it was more to sooth her fear than her injury, Whitney started sobbing in pain. Way out of character. Everyone I had take a look at her arm thought it looked okay. But my mommy instinct was ringing like Spiderman’s spidey sense. We did our RICE – Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation and I got a doctor’s appointment.


When I took Whitney to the doctor first thing the next morning, I had no doubt her arm was broken. I even asked her what color cast she was going to get. When the doctor delivered the confirming news, I felt a surge of validation that I got it right. I actually felt like I should’ve earned some sort of mommy badge of excellence for knowing this wasn’t just a drill and what to do in case of a real emergency.


On the way out of the doctor’s I asked Whitney what she thought of being first to the finish line of broken bones.


On the mend and back in usual form, a sly grin spread across her face, “Now,” she said, “My brother can’t touch me.”

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