Friday, April 26, 2013

Warning: Be Careful With Pity Parties. God Might Give You a Reality Check.

I was chatting with some gal pals at a MOPS meeting this morning about our weekend plans.  I said I was excited because Philip had the entire weekend off and that we were going to enjoy a quiet weekend of family time.

On his way home from work, Philip got a text saying that he needed to come in on back-up to work at the hospital from 7 a.m. Saturday to 10 a.m. Sunday.  

Goodbye, weekend plans!

Philip shared the news as gently as he could.  He said we would make tonight extra special, rent a movie, and get some ice cream after the kids went to bed.  He suggested we stop at a nearby park and that we pick up dinner so that I could have a night off from cooking.  

Philip was doing a great job of cheering me up, but I couldn't help whining for a bit.  I decided throwing myself a little pity party on Facebook with a "woe is me" status update about our ruined weekend plans was a good option.  
Cue the violins! Goodbye our quiet little weekend as a family. Philip just got called in on backup to work 7 am tomorrow to 10 am Sunday. Residency, I am officially over you!   
Waaaaaaaah!  Waaaaaaaah!  Waaaaaaaaah!

We drove to a nearby park, and the kids had a ball.  Our kiddos were the youngest ones there by a long shot, and Philip and I probably looked like helicopter parents.  While the other parents sat on the nearby benches and chatted, I stood in "spotters ready" position behind Walt as he went up the steep ladder, and Philip kept an eye on daredevil Jane as she went from one obstacle to the next.  

Janie & Walt on the slides
Eventually, the other families left for dinner, and we were left with the playground to ourselves.  Without Jane trying to imitate the big kids' moves and with Walt exclusively using the toddler-friendly stairs to get to the slides, Philip and I decided to sit on one of the nearby benches while we watched the action.  

Then, it happened--one of those terrible slow motion moments when you know what's going to happen next, but you're too far away to do anything to stop it.  Walt had been sitting on the top platform of the jungle gym and turned himself around to go down the slide like he had 50 times.  At the last second, while still scooting backwards, he changed directions.  His little foot caught the edge of the platform perpendicular to the slide.  Naturally, this was the side of the platform with an opening for a spiral pole like this:
Only, this particular drop-off was 6-feet high.  One of us, I can't remember who, was mid-sentence when Walt changed directions and he caught his foot on the edge of the platform.  "Philip!  Philip!  Philip!" I said as I pointed and stood up.  I knew I couldn't stop what was going to happen, so I prayed as I watched it happen that it wouldn't be too terrible.  

Walt didn't realize he was scooting himself off of the platform.  He fell backward between the platform and spiral pole.  By some miracle, he didn't hit his head on the 6-foot descent, and the poor guy landed with a big "thud" on his back.  Philip picked him up instantly.  Walt was murmuring quietly and the color drained from his face.  He straightened his back like he wanted out of Philip's arms.  Then, his eyes rolled into the back of his head and he went limp.  

This, my friends, is when you're glad your husband is a pediatric resident.  Walt came to in a few seconds, but it felt like an eternity, especially because we weren't sure if something more serious was wrong.  After he came back to, he didn't act hurt or concussed.  After holding him for a bit, Philip suggested we let him try to play for a few minutes to observe his movements and check for signs of a concussion.   Per usual, Philip remained calm and collected, and I was so glad he was there.

Children are so resilient!  Within minutes, Walt was climbing, laughing, and wanting to go back down the slides.  We remained helicopter parents for five more minutes before we decided Walt was ok, and Philip announced, "It's time for dinner!  Let's get in the car!"  We knew Walt was back to his regular old self when he said, "Hungry!  Hungry!  Hungry!" and made a beeline for the minivan. 

Since he's still rear-facing in his carseat and has a tendency to space out during car rides anyway, we kept asking him questions to check on him.  

"Walt, who's your favorite choo-choo?"     

"Walt, are you hungry?"

The little guy ate a great dinner, and he seems to be doing just fine, so hopefully the scary moment has passed.  

While I'm still bummed that Philip has to unexpectedly work a 24-hour shift tomorrow, I'm grateful for the reality check that our trip to the playground provided me:
  1. We all have our health.
  2. Philip is employed, and we've found a way for me to stay at home with the kids.
  3. Philip's job as a pediatric resident provides him with the medical know-how to take care of kiddos when these crises arise.
  4. He had tonight off to be there when we needed him.
  5. He'll be able to take care of other kids at the hospital whose families desperately need his help, and he'll give them the peace of mind that he gave me tonight.  
I suppose life isn't all that bad.  

I suppose I can share Philip tomorrow.  

I suppose it's not the end of the world.  

I'm probably still not going to like it, and that's okay.  I don't have to like it because, well, it doesn't matter if I like it.  I'm not the one who matters.  When Philip is able to provide his patients and their families with top-notch medical care in a crisis situation tomorrow, through the night, and into Sunday morning, it won't matter that I'm bummed he's gone.  

Tonight taught me that I don't have to like Philip's absence for his presence somewhere else to matter.  After tonight, I realized that his absence from us makes his presence for families in crisis possible.  And, you know what?  That's pretty cool. 


  1. I'm so very sorry about your weekend. That does stink. But your second outlook is a good one. And if I lived just a wee bit closer, I would suggest an outing with our kiddos to the Omaha Zoo given the weather looks to be gorgeous. Let's get it planned for a future date!

    1. YES!!! We'd love a zoo date in the future!

  2. Oh my -- so sorry about the working weekend and so happy to hear little Walt is ok!

    1. Thanks, Janet! It was a scary ordeal, and we're glad it had a happy ending.