I was driving home from the airport the other night when my cell phone rang. It was my sweet wife, Jean, calling, always a welcome occurrence, especially after a day away from home.
“Guess where we are?” she asked with a lilt and bit of play in her voice.
I didn’t want to say it, but I was thinking, I don’t want to guess … please tell me.
My suspicions were quickly confirmed.
“We’re at the emergency room again,” she said, “but this time it’s for Troy.”
I could tell by the tone of her voice that Troy wasn’t in any grave danger, but anytime your child requires professional medical attention there is always cause for concern.
“He ripped his nail off while messing around with weights in the basement,” she continued. “Three stitches in the end of his finger.”
Jean was sparing me some of the gory details, probably not wanting to worry me. It was actually a bit more involved. Poor Troy needed sutures in his nail bed and had to take a local anesthetic, an injection of Lidocaine, to get it done. Jean said just watching that hurt her. She had him squeeze her pinky while he played Simon on her phone.
What a week! As I shared the other day, our older son, Trent, busted his wrist while skating a few days ago, and now his brother has his own ER story to tell. It’s interesting to see the family dynamics at play. When Trent was hurt last week, he was fearful because of what had happened to me back in June, but now Troy was scared because of what had happened to Trent.
As kids grow and mature and you become more comfortable as a parent, you begin to take most of these things more in stride. I’m reminded of a story the late Art Linkletter once told. He said, “The first child with a bloody nose was rushed to the emergency room. The fifth child with a bloody nose was told to go immediately to the yard and stop bleeding on the carpet.”
That’s either perspective and seasoning or callousness and fatigue – or maybe a little bit of both!
Jean has been joking that you might soon see the Daly family wearing full protective gear at the grocery store. After all, there are plenty of years left of childhood which are bound to include bike riding, skiing, skateboarding and sports in general.
Children teach us a lot of things, and patience might very well be at the top of the list. Accidents like Troy’s will happen, but how do we respond to them?
That’s key. The answer to that question will often be the difference between growing cynical or growing in maturity, not only as a parent, but as a believer. Do you think that the Lord is using the minor and major frustrations in your life to shape and mold you – or simply torture you? I believe that ours is a gracious God whose purposes and patterns are often hidden to the human eye and understanding, but who always has our ultimate best in mind.
If you’re a parent of young kids and find yourself weary and worn out over some setback, and assuming the matter is not of serious consequence, I would encourage you to laugh more and not take minor frustrations too seriously. I’m regularly reminded by those further along the parenting journey that in the blink of an eye the children will be grown and gone. To what snapshots of life will we return in those quiet hours and days? What will we remember? What will seem trivial and of little consequence? What will stand the test of time?
For now, we’re getting to know the E.R. personnel on a first-name basis, all the while maxing-out our medical deductible for the year. But in the end, the boys are still thriving and, well, being boys. We thank God for them each and every day.
I can only imagine what kind of stories there are out there, of late night trips to the ER with your kids, of vitamins and marbles stuck up noses and the like. We’d love to hear them, if only to be reminded that none of us are alone in our daily challenges as a parent!