As a mom, I always imagined I would be at the top of my game when it comes to protecting my girls.
With the medical history of our oldest, including lab-work, hospital stays and surgery, my husband and I have become adept at overprotectiveness regarding her health. We’ve had practice holding her through her pain and tears. And we’ve hidden our own tears to lessen her fears.
Sometimes I feel like we’ve morphed into a kind of super-parent zone when it comes to not crashing under the pressure of a 107 degree temperature, or three straight days of visiting the hospital laboratory to draw blood or not jumping down the throat of a nurse who has immense trouble inserting an IV into my little girl’s arm.
We’ve learned to be at the top of our game. When it comes to doctors and hospitals, that is.
A couple weeks ago, though, my youngest daughter got a puncture wound on her finger. Instead of acting quickly and thinking on my feet, I turned to mush.
The one on top of his game was a family acquaintance who acted like a field medic and promptly used his hand to apply pressure to the wound. All the while I panicked with tears in my eyes.
I couldn’t get past my baby’s screams and the blood. (It wasn’t serious enough for stitches, by the way.)
So much for holding up under pressure.
Several days later, her finger got infected and we visited the doctor. Super-me was back—asking the right questions, pushing for answers, not bursting into tears when the doctor said if the antibiotics didn’t work, my daughter would be hooked to IV fluids for a week.
It’s all about being comfortable.
And we all have those places of comfort. The places where we are so practiced at doing something that it is second nature. We are super-people in our comfort zones.
It takes those odd-ball, finger-puncturing moments to propel us back to the reality where we don’t have everything put together. Those times when we’re forced to rely on the super-human abilities of our friends, family or even strangers, to apply pressure to our wound.
I have to admit, those reality checks can be embarrassing. There was a small crowd watching me fail to assist my daughter in those critical moments. That group of people saw my panic. They saw my tears.
But they also saw how a quick-thinking bystander jumped in to assist. His actions are impressed in my mind, and I hope that his first-aid technique will be something I am not afraid to do the next time someone gets hurt.
Because that’s how we go from mush to rock-solid. Practice.
My husband and I didn’t start with strength to advocate for our children in the medical world. It is a skill we learned over time. A skill we have practiced over and over again.
I’m guessing first aid is a skill that was learned and practiced by the man who helped our daughter.
Some things we choose to learn—job skills, college degrees, crocheting. Some things we are forced to learn—how to effectively hold flailing arms and legs to allow lab techs to draw blood. Some things come naturally—musical abilities, athletic prowess, baking.
But no matter how we come by our skills, it takes practice and time to become super.