Mother’s Day, 2012. I was awakened to the sound of a blood-curdling scream from my 13-month old. I bolted down the stairs to find my husband and son on the couch—both of their blue polo shirts stained red with blood.
My favorite polo shirts. Both solid sky blue. My husband must have put some thought into this Mother’s Day, because he usually puts very little thought into his own wardrobe and even less into my son’s. It was a sweet gesture that was already better than any gift. I briefly wondered what my husband had planned. Very briefly. With the emphasis on had planned. All plans were off for the moment. I took my little boy from my husband and examined his mouth, still pouring blood.
“I’m sorry,” my husband said. “I was really hoping to let you sleep late this morning.”
Now, I’m probably mis-remembering this. My husband had probably put a towel or something to stop the bleeding, and probably his thoughts about me sleeping late weren’t his first words. But these are the highlights my mom-brain remembers.
Yup. The bar has been set really low for Mother’s Day celebrations after that one. And, as much as I hate to tempt fate by even typing these words, any Mother’s Day that doesn’t start (or end) in bloodshed is a win in my book.
Although I’m pretty laidback about letting my kids run , climb, and play, whenever they roughhouse or do anything even remotely dangerous on this day, they hear the warning: “We don’t want to spend Mother’s Day in the emergency room … again.”
But let’s backtrack to what is a rather anti-climactic turn of events. My son Alex had been walking just about a month. He decided to do a dance move on his small plastic chair, standing on it facing backwards and then tipping it forward —landing face-first on the hardwood floor. He tried (unsuccessfully, fortunately) to knock his two front teeth out of his mouth, but only succeeded in pushing them slightly up into his gums. Bleeding ensued. And boy, did he bleed. And bleed.
The bleeding stopped by the time we were seen at hospital. So we went home $175 lighter (and that’s with insurance!) and with instructions to call a pediatric dentist in the morning to determine if there had been nerve or root damage. On the ride home, I wondered if the blood stains would come out of my two favorite blue polo shirts.
I’d like to be able to say I was a brand-new mother, which would make panicking and rushing off to the emergency room seem so much more logical. But I was already a four-year veteran at the parenting game.
But that Mother’s Day, I earned two “mom cards,” if you will. I learned sacrifice. Kids will ruin plans like nobody’s business and, sometimes, you give up what you wanted to do for what you think you have to do. There is a lot of “better safe than sorry” in parenting.
I also learned that having kids makes for some great stories. Yeah, that’s what we were doing. Building memories. And stories to share. I remember my mom sharing stories with me about my older sibling’s mishaps before I was born. So, yes. On this day that didn’t go at all as planned, I felt more like a mother, perhaps more like my own mother, than I had in the four years prior.
Here’s to hoping future memories won’t involve the emergency room. And one thing I’m sure of – call it superstition if you want – but future memories definitely will not involve matching blue polo shirts.
“The Blue and Bloody Battle of Motherhood” is part of Bump Club and Beyond’s “Like A Mother” series. These submissions detail the first time amazing moms around the world felt like mothers. Stay tuned for more “Like A Mother” blog posts in the coming weeks.