That's not to say that it isn't tough and sometimes it sends you right to the edge of insanity. But just like you enjoy the great runs even more after bad runs, you have to endure the tough, scary moments to truly appreciate just how lucky you really are. Checks and balances.
Like yesterday for example...
I had just gotten home from work and after saying hi and kissing and hugging everyone I sat down on the couch to catch my breath. The two oldest ones were playing in the yard out front when I heard Veronica, the middle one crying. Now, at first I didn't really pay attention. Parents who are reading this know only too well: crying is a part of it. Especially when playing is involved. You know. They go out. They play. They run. Someone gets hit somehow. (The nature, origin and blame regarding the hit or fall is a hotly debated subject among the siblings involved) They cry. They argue. They calm down. They start playing again. Lather, rinse, repeat. So, although I clearly heard her, I did nothing.
Then, about 30 seconds later, the oldest (María) starts crying too. Now, this wasn't her "I really don't have a reasonable defense regarding Veronica's crying so I'm hoping my crying will get me off the hook." cry. Oh no. This was the "I'm seeing something that is really scaring me and I'm freaking out!" cry. That got my attention. So I jump off the couch and run outside. The first thing I see is María looking positively terrified and as I make it to the yard, sure enough, there was Veronica on her knees crying. Bleeding from the forehead.
The cut wasn't too long thank goodness but it looked deep and she bled all over her shirt so it looked pretty bad. I can only imagine what was going through María's mind at the moment. She is only six and it's her sister. So not only do I have to calmly tend to the wound but I also have to reassure both Maria and my wife that everything is alright and I'm in total control of the situation. (yeah, right.)
So I cleaned the wound, patched her up and took her to get medical attention. If it were only that simple. Again, parents will back me up on this: It's very hard to handle these medical situations without having an "adventure" of some type. On this occasion adventure means that although the "incident" (as I will now refer to it from now on) happened at about 5:30pm and I was on my way to the doctor at about 5:45pm, I somehow managed to return home at 1am.
That's right. 1am. It ended up being just three stitches and the entire procedure took all of 10 minutes but the place I went to was so overrun and understaffed, that I ended up waiting 7 hours to get the care she needed. Isn't that just peachy?
Isn't she happy about the stitches?
So yeah, I'm dead tired and a little rattled. You can't help but think of the what if's when stuff like this happens but here is an interesting tidbit: After coming back home and putting Veronica in bed, I swapped stories of what happened with my wife. She told about how María was really concerned about Veronica and how scared she was. She told her she loved her very much and didn't want anything to happen to her. As I'm piecing the events of the night together, I realize that right around the same time María was telling that to her mom, I was having this conversation with Veronica in the waiting room.
Veronica: Dad, I want to see María.
Me: As soon as we get out of here dear. Don't worry. Everything is going to be fine.
Veronica: Yeah, but I want to see María.
Veronica: Because she is calling me.
Me: What? What do you mean?
Veronica: She is calling me because she loves me.
See what I mean? Checks and balances.