I wouldn’t say that any of my days are particularly calm, while watching five rambunctious boys, but some of them are definitely more calm than others.
Monday was not one of those calmer days.
It was my mom’s last day in town and we wanted to go out and do something fun. So, I gathered the kids into the car and we headed to the Nature Museum in Jerusalem. We’ve never been there before, but Yehuda recently saw a sign for it and was intrigued. He begged us to take him – and who’s going to deny an 8-year old’s request to go to a museum?! It was a sweet little museum that the kids enjoyed for about 45 minutes. Never mind the lack of air conditioning or the fact that strollers aren’t allowed and yours truly had to carry all 30 plus pounds of dear Zeli around the museum. But, nevertheless, we had a good time.
We then walked through a large covered courtyard to get popsicles on Emek Refaim. I told the kids that we should take the popsicles back to the covered courtyard and that we could relax and eat there. The courtyard had some play equipment and the kids were having a ball playing on it. There was, in addition to other attractions, a see-saw that was built for four, and they looked adorable playing on it.
Well, for about five minutes, that is.
Amichai was sitting on the same side of the see-saw as Yehuda and he jumped off at one point. It upset the balance of the entire see-saw and we explained to him that he couldn’t do that again. As my mom and I finished our sentences, Amichai jumped off again – sending Yehuda catapulting from the see-saw, directly onto his elbow. It was not a pretty scene.
So, there I was with five children, my mom, and a potentially broken elbow. One of my co-workers asked me if I cried. I remarked that I actually tend to be surprisingly level-headed in these situations. I may not always make the right decisions, but I don’t tend to fall apart. In addition to the issues at hand, the time, at this point, was about 5 pm. At 8pm, I was going to need to drive my mom back into Jerusalem to meet her shuttle to the airport – and yet it looked like we were about to have a lengthy emergency room visit. Deep sigh……
So, Yehuda was definitely in pain, but not in agony, and I wasn’t positive about his needs. I decided to pack everyone back into the car and go home. Once we arrived at home, I called the health clinic in a hurry to see if a doctor was still available. Bingo. There was one on staff until 6:30. Thank Gd, we’ve rented an extra car for the month of August (a fantastic luxury that we are really enjoying!) so Josh was able to get home at 6, scoop Yehuda and take off. Meanwhile, I ran to two places to pick up dinner for the rest of the kids, and then arranged for a babysitter to watch the kids while I took my mom to the shuttle. Not the most relaxing send-off dinner…but what are you going to do?!
Josh and Yehuda went to the doctor, who sent them to Terem, the emergency center in Jerusalem, for x-rays. The elbow is very badly bruised, but not broken. When I returned from taking my mom and taking the babysitter home, I called Josh to see how things were going. I had to laugh as he explained that they were out for sushi. Come again? They were hungry after such an ordeal, Josh explained, so he had taken the kid to a sushi dinner at 10pm! Gotta love it!
While the entire day was thoroughly exhausting, it has also brought up some interesting feelings and thoughts. I’ve replayed the moment when Yehuda got hurt a number of times, trying to see if I should have seen it coming, if I should have watched Amichai more closely, if I should have recognized how dangerous see-saws are, etc. I’ve thought to myself, “But we were having such a nice time. If only we hadn’t walked through that courtyard and if only we had gone to the pool instead of the museum. If only…if only…if only.”
As parents, we are amazing at beating ourselves up. And yet, this was a little incident from which we will all recover.
I can’t help but think about much more serious accidents where children are hurt, and the torment that the parents must experience afterwards. We are entering the end of summer, and the time, four years ago, when Yehuda’s friend, Chanan, died in a terrible home accident. I can’t help but think about the Sivans during this time of year,and the grief that they must have experienced and the endless rounds of blame and “what-ifs” that they must have subjected themselves to.
I am incredibly grateful for Yehuda’s little sling and for the Tylenol that seems to take away the pain. If only it were always that simple.