The summer when Jake was five and Justin was three, I was selling goods at our local fair and setting up shows for a home show company. A friend's daughter from church had agreed to take the boys around the fair while I was there so they could have some fun.
The day was going pretty well, I had sold some things off the table and given away a lot of catalogs which might lead to future sales. As the afternoon wore on I was getting a bit bored and then looked up to find Jake walking alone toward me. My first reaction was anger, that he was alone. After that flash of emotion passed, came relief that he was smart enough to know how to get back to me.
I asked him where the babysitter and Justin were and he said the bathrooms. I asked him if he walked away and he said he couldn't find them. So I ask a neighboring vendor to watch my things and allowed him to lead me in the direction where they had been. I was sure that the babysitter was going to meet me half way frantic with panic over not being able to locate him.
He lead me out away from the rides toward the barns and I noticed there was an ambulance sitting in the middle of the road between the barn and the bathrooms but the lights weren't on and there were a lot of people gathered around so I kept scanning the crowds everywhere for the babysitter and Justin.
Finally, as we get about 50 yards from the ambulance I hear my name being called on the loudspeaker, and they are asking me to report to the ambulance in front of the cow barn. My heart starts to beat a little faster and we started walking a little faster. As we approach the ambulance the I see the babysitter first and she is crying, she was very upset. I immediately thought something was wrong with her, she had gotten hurt somehow. I gave her a quick hug and ask the ambulance attendant what was going on. Then I hear Justin crying and sobbing. He was in a state sobbing the way a child does when they have been crying for a little while and they are running out of steam but are still not wanting to stop crying.
The ambulance attendant explained to me that he had been kicked by a cow. He explained that the cow would have killed him had it actually kicked him, but instead had lifted him up with the thrust of its leg and he hit his head on the cement. Since he was only 3 and the ambulance guys were strangers he wasn't having anything to do with them until I got there.
I wrapped my arms around him and held him for them to examine. They couldn't find anything wrong but were afraid that he might have a concussion and wanted me to keep an eye on him and not let him go to sleep. I agreed and our motley little crew walked away from the ambulance back toward my booth.
My poor babysitter was so upset it was all I could do to calm her down. Having babysat a lot myself as a teen I really felt her pain and could easily imagine how horrible and scary the whole ordeal was for her. I let her talk and reassured her that everything would be fine and that it was okay. At the same time I was trying to reassure myself.
I sent her and Jake off to get something to drink for all of us and settled in to calm my still shuddering and sobbing little Justin. I rocked him and kissed him and tried to keep him from going to sleep. They came back and while her and I were talking he drifted off to sleep. I nudged him to wake him up and he woke up for a second and then his eyes rolled back in his head in a weird way that I had never seen before and he went limp in my arms. I asked the babysitter as calmly as I could to go get the ambulance worker and have him come over to us.
The two or three minutes that it took for him to get to me seemed like forever. I told him what happened and he checked his pulse and said that we were going over to the hospital with him. So I climbed in to the ambulance with him and off we went. He woke up at the hospital and fought with the nurses who were trying to put an IV in his arm. I think it took three nurses to hold him down. Meanwhile I was trying to call my husband and leave a message so that he would know what was happening.
They decided to send us to the big city children's hospital for x-rays and observation, so we were packed into the ambulance again for an hour long ride. The worker who was riding in back with me said it was okay this time if we let him go to sleep because they had all the monitors hooked up. Finally, he went to sleep and a moment later I took a deep cleansing breath and started to cry.
The ambulance worker immediately started telling me that it was going to be okay. I told her I knew that he was going to be okay and that everyone was great and I appreciated her concern. I then told her that I had to cry I had been holding it all in for nearly four hours being strong for everyone else and now in this quiet moment while he was sleeping, before we got to the hospital and they woke him up for tests, I needed to get it out and cry it out so I could be strong for him again. She understood and held my hand and let me cry.
Justin was released and good as gold three days later. We had a bit of a rough time in the hospital. He had a fractured skull and there was some swelling of the brain but he got better quick and as soon as he could hold down food we were out of there.
Later everyone told me they were amazed at how calmly I reacted to everything and how reassuring I had been to everyone else. What they didn't know was that I was a wreck on the inside the entire time from the moment I heard my name over the speaker. I was running on auto pilot, it felt like someone else was being me and I was along for the ride all calm on the outside while my mind was racing a hundred miles an hour on the inside. If it wouldn't have been for the quiet time to cry in the ambulance, where I released my anxieties and prayed for his health and my calm, I wouldn't have been such a good mom.
I think back now and that song "Jesus Take the Wheel" comes to mind, I don't think I could have been that calm collected person on my own without His strength.