I had planned to write today about being thankful for marriage, particularly ours. That will have to wait however as I'm not feeling well and don't have the brain power today to really write what I needed to write.
That's just fine - God provided mie with something else to be thankful for today.
Today I am thankful for God's protection. Specifically, I'm thankful for how he cares for "my" children when they aren't around mie. The reality is that no mom, especially mom's with multiple children, can be with all of their children every second of the day. Any experienced mom realizes that it only takes a second for a child to disappear and get into something dangerous no matter how skilled the parent and how well the home is child-proofed.
Crawling infants and toddlers are especially challenging I've found. They have a very short attention span, want to put everything in their mouth, have very little self-control, and yet aren't capable of getting themselves out of troubling situations once they've found them - they are typically blissfully unaware of the crazy danger that exists in this world. And they move fast.
Miss Summer fits this description perfectly. I love that girl so much - she is so full of life. That spunk keeps us constantly on our toes. She so desperately wants to hang out with #9 and Logan, the big kids, and usually she can hold her own but she lacks the ability to set her own boundaries to keep herself safe like the other two do. She'll get there in time but still needs nearly constant supervision. I'm not complaining - this is a post of gratitude, afterall.
Case in point, we lost her twice yesterday at church. As we were handing off #10 to his childcare room she managed to sneak off. I had my back turned for all of 30 seconds and she had shimmied her way out of the stroller and ran out of sight. Thankfully as I started to panic a friend pointed out she was only 20 feet away in the main play area, safe and sound. The campus is large and she could have been anywhere. Later when we were picking up the kids she managed to escape in the few seconds it took mie to pick-up #10. This time she had run to say hello to one of our good friends who graciously kept an eye on her until we found her.
As if those weren't bad enough, later we had a crisis.
After church my husband went out of his way to get mie dinner. (He did this because he ordered his own dinner as I sat next to him, completely forgetting to get mie something so I went hungry). This means our usual 20 minute trip home probably lasted about 35. The kids were tired. They were mostly quiet, except for #9's occasional tattling on Summer, at least once for taking her ponytail holders out.
Summer does this a lot. In fact, though it's gotten better it's almost every time she's alone in her carseat. She does it at naptime too. Usually her hair ties end up around her wrist and we've learned now that she needs the larger, softer "mini-scrunchy" types so that she doesn't hurt her wrists. Apparently she does this at school too because she almost always comes home without the bows or hair ties we sent her in. They're always very good at putting her hair back up in some cute fashion, but it's always with those tiny clear thin rubber bands - the kind I'd think of when you do thin braids.
When we got home last night it was late so we did a mad dash to get the three youngest kiddos to bed. I picked up Summer and hugged her and kissed her then sent her upstairs to her dad to get her PJs on while I waited for #9 to use the restroom first. Before I put her down she wanted mie to kiss her hands. I kissed the left one then she brought up the right one and though it was dark I could tell her skin looked funny. It didn't feel funny so I assumed she'd played with chalk or finger paint or something at church. She didn't seem abnormal otherwise so I put her down and sent her upstairs where my husband was waiting to put her PJs on.
Next thing I know he is freaking out.
On one hand I wish I had taken a picture so I could show you how bad it was - I'd never seen something like it before - but of course it was an emergency so I didn't run down to get the camera before fixing her.
Her hand was discolored (an understatement). And freezing cold. She had tied one of those darn things ties around her wrist and it completely cut the circulation of. Her hand looked like it was freshly dead - dark purple (almost black), swollen. I tried to find a similar picture online but couldn't find anything like it and I wasn't about to start searching for pictures of dead babies just to show you. But it was bad. Very bad.
My husband was panicked. He immediately removed the band and because it was still so bad he thought there must be another one. I rubbed her hand vigorously to restore the circulation, and that is how I noticed how cold her hand was. Cold and swollen. And dark, dark purple.
Thankfully her hand regained normal color after a few minutes. She cried after I started rubbing her hand - I'm sure it hurt at that point. We know her hair was up when we put her in the car and it was probably 15 minutes into the car ride before #9 told us she had taken her hair out. That means she had probably had her circulation cut off for the remainder of the car ride (20 minutes) and no more than 5 at home before we caught it. That's 25 minutes. She didn't make a peep in the car. She didn't cry or in anyway indicate she had a problem when we were at home. If we had put her to bed by the light of her nightlight last night (which we did for #10) we wouldn't have seen it for who knows how long.
But she is ok. She is safe. There wasn't any appearance of long-term damage last night or this morning.
These things happen. Unless I never put her hair up or I always take her hair out when we get in the car, just to put it back up when we get to our destination, there's nothing I could have done to prevent the situation or react to it any more quickly. As parents we can be the most vigilant, observant, helicopter-style parents out there and we still will face times where we can't save our kids from the dangers in this world.
I still will continue to try to prevent any danger from meeting up with my children, no matter how much they inadvertently search it out, but I'm grateful we have a God who is much more capable than I am at being omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent. God protected her when we couldn't, and today I'm reminded of being thankful for his protection.