Once, when I was twenty-two, I was duct taped to a board for several hours.
[I thought that might get your attention.]
Okay fine, I am sure it wasn’t actually duct tape…coulda been some kind of a strap, I suppose….and maybe it was actually some kind of spinal board EMT’s use.
It probably wasn’t a couple of hours, either, but it sure felt that way.
I had been in a car accident…a really bad car accident. I was hit nearly head on at a four way intersection, causing my car to do a 180. Later, when my Uncle Ed saw the car, all he could say was “HOLY. SHIT.”
The whole front end was crumpled in like a tin can.
I was alone in the car.
People came running and were yelling, “Are you okay?!? DON’T MOVE!”
I remember thinking, “I don’t know….AM I OKAY?!” It didn’t seem to anyone present (including, for a moment – me) that I could possibly be okay.
I did a full body scan – ten fingers, ten toes…limbs still attached and intact, no apparent hemorrhaging…
“Ugh….yeessss? Yes. YES, I AM OKAY!!! I AM!!”
(They didn’t believe me.)
When the paramedics got there, despite my claims of being okay, they duct taped me to a board (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it). One strap went across my forehead so I couldn’t turn my head, another across my upper arms, and then one across my hips.
At the hospital, I remember being placed in a holding room. I was still attached to the board, which was now on top of a gurney. It seemed like forever that I was in there, all alone, unable to move. That part felt scary.
A nurse came in and asked me who they should call. I was nearest my Aunt Anne and Uncle Ed’s house in a different state, so I said they should call them, instead of my parents. I knew my aunt would lose it if she got a cold call from the hospital about my having been in an accident, so I insisted that the nurse dial the number and hold the phone up to my face so I could tell her for myself.
“Hi, Aunt Anne. I am okay, but I had an accident and I’m at the hospital.” On the other end of the line I heard a gasp and then, “Oh Dear.” (Classic Anne.)
I could feel the tears streaming down my face and collecting in my ears (because I could not turn my head nor lift my arms to wipe the tears away).
“Really, I’m okay,” I reiterated. I’m just…duct taped to a board.”
I really was okay…pretty sore for a few days, but no worse for the wear, as they say. (Unfortunately, the same could not be said for my car.)
Why am I telling you this story? I am telling you because I couldn’t help but think of it today. Here’s why…
This morning I woke up with two little girls in my bed. As usual, they had snuck in with me in the night. They were snuggled up to me on either side. I laid there for a while just thinking about the amazing little beings that they are. My God, I love them so much.
I thought about everything they have had thrown at them in the past few years.
Frankly, it seems like enough to have done some pretty serious damage…their parents’ divorce, the death of someone they adored, their Nana battling cancer, and then there’s the matter of their dad revealing he feels he is really a woman…
These are not small things.
I wondered…are my girls really Okay? Really?
Like my accident, it seems nearly impossible for them to walk away from (or through) all of this unscathed. Should I be duct taping them to a board or something?! (Metaphorically speaking, of course.)
I was still pondering this at the bus stop, where I found myself bringing the question to my friend, Michelle.
“Are my kids really okay? They seem okay. Is that…really the truth?”
Never one to shrink from a question, she kindly reminded me of a few important things…
First – My girls are more than okay….they are pretty incredible.
Second – Life’s challenges build compassion, gratitude, and perspective.
Third – No matter what a child goes through, knowing that someone has their back – come hell or high water – is what makes all the difference. It isn’t what a child goes through, as much as it is about them knowing they never have to do it alone.