Did you ever think you could watch a doctor close a wound with stitches? I found out it was possible the day my son, at the age of 2, was crawling on the hardwood floor and my 4-year-old daughter decided it would be fun to play wheelbarrow and picked up his feet. His chin hit the floor with a whack and started bleeding profusely. I quickly staunched the flow, covered it with a band-aid, called the doctor to say that I was on my way, dropped my daughter at a neighbor’s house, and drove over to the doctor’s office. It was not far, thank heaven. He cried all the way.
At the doctor’s office, I had to hold my son down while the nurse cleaned him up and the doctor carefully stitched up his chin. He needed three stitches, but it seemed to take forever, as though the doctor was moving in slow motion. I never took my eyes off his hand while he worked, inwardly astonished at what I was doing. Funny, the things we are capable of in a crisis.
Now, years later, I wonder if there were repercussions, like a ripple in a pond that forever flows outward from a disturbance. Did my daughter ever get over the guilt of knowing she was responsible for hurting her little brother? Is that why she was so protective of him from that day forward? Did my son ever regain his trust in the people around him who held him down and put needles in him? Is this why I always felt I had to watch my children like a hawk so nothing bad ever happens to them?
Or is this the stuff that is supposed to happen? Perhaps life just decided things were going along too smoothly there, and we needed a little stirring up. Perhaps we needed to be knocked a little off balance so we can learn to find that balance again.