I don't know why it still surprises me but the truth is that for a mom with four kids, there is never a dull moment. Right when I think I have a handle on what is happening with my small army of children, something happens to make me realize all over again that life can change in a moment, right before my eyes.
My children went back to school yesterday after a long Christmas break. We loved the downtime together but my four LOVE school and were eager to return. They were sleepy. They were scattered. But, they were thrilled to be back with friends and teachers who love them deeply. After school, we did chores and homework and took care of details and then started practice for a winter basketball league that our family really enjoys. Mark was running kids to and from practice while I ran those that were home through showers and tucked them into bed. By 7:30 pm, Elizabeth was in bed, Benjamin was at practice, Noah was doing homework and Josiah was getting ready for a shower. Right before climbing into the tub, he was going to run downstairs to grab something and so wrapped himself in a towel and headed for the stairs.
I was standing at the top landing when it happened. No hands on the handrail, two hands holding a towel... you see where this is going, don't you? In a split second, while I watched, my third born missed a step. Down he went, totally in slow motion, first his knee... then this abdomen... then his armpit... then his hand, fingers split on a step... then his chin.... then the whole of my sweet boy sliding down the remaining stairs until he landed full out on the wood floors below. It was quiet for a split second before Josiah started to scream a high-pitched release that filled the house and cut to the core of my momma-self. You know that scream? The one that makes you run faster than you thought you could to get to the little one who is releasing that cry?
"Don't move, Josiah! Don't move!" I said, as calmly as I could. Down the stairs I flew, desperate to help my boy.
He was writhing then... towel splayed sideways and 7 year-old naked, ready for his bath, on the floor.
"My hands, Momma! Oh my hands!" he screamed.
I grabbed my boy and pulled him on my lap... there were scrapes everywhere. He was still crying, yelling, trying to talk. We sat there for a good long while, rocking together and trying to make it all better, all the while wondering if he was really okay.
We decided to trade the shower for a bath and I loaded him gingerly into the warm tub for a soak. I could see that, while bruised and bumped, most of him was going to be fine. Still worried about his hands, I gave him some stacking cups to play with for a while.
Josiah is a lefty and that hand seemed usable, for the most part. He was sore, for sure. But the fingers moved and the distraction of pouring one cup into the next gave him enough to think about while I watched for any other injuries. The right hand? He kept that soaking in the water, still at his side.
By the time he went to bed, I had a sense that he had hurt his right hand. When he woke up this morning, we found swelling and bruising and a visit to the doctor is in order for sure. At appointments this afternoon, we will face poking and prodding and x-rays and I just feel awful for my sweet boy.
It is January and we have a couple of months of basketball and soccer planned. We have family excursions to sledding hills coming and all of sudden I am reminded that everything can change in an instant. Sure, it is likely only a broken finger. Of course, he will be okay. I know it could have been much, much worse. But, the reminder that life can be so... shifty... is uncomfortable to me. Our plans for the day, the season, our lives, are subject to whatever might come our way in the blink of an eye.
When I drive my kids to school each day, Benjamin reads to us from a devotional book for kids. Today, he read about a boy who was having a really bad day. His momma came and sat with him, talked with him, prayed with him. The boy later realizes that He can go to God with his troubles anytime. That God is there for him, loves him, wants to help him... just like his mom. And he starts to feel better... a little more sure... a little more confident.
Josiah piped up then, from the back. "Hey, he is just like me. He is having a bad day, too. But he can pray and so can I. God will help me, too"
Life can be unsure. Things can change in the blink of an eye. Our plans can be altered or canceled without our consent. It can feel like something to fear or worry about because the whole of it is just so unknown. But, the truth is that ALL of life is not so like shifting sand. Josiah is right. We have something to rely on that is greater than all our well-laid plans. And the fact that we are not alone in our ever-changing lives can offer enough comfort to set our feet in a surer spot to stand.
I need to remember today to rest in the truth of a God who cares and helps and comforts instead of a life well-tended. Easier said than done for me, especially when watching my baby falling down the stairs. But, if a 7 year old can wrap his sweet arms of faith around a God who will help him, too... surely I can follow suit. : )
Blessings on your day.