Discovering Parental Super Powers

I heard the cry instantly. It wasn’t the I’m-pretending-to-cry-to-get-my-sister-in-trouble. Nor was it the high-pitched cackling that makes you think someone is crying. It was a full on panicky, pained cry – and I knew immediately our evening was going to change.

We raced to the basement to find 5 year old Josh on the ground, cradling his left foot and screaming that a “green boulder” fell on his toes. I looked around for the boulder (imagining some kind of Wile E. Coyote situation gone wrong), and all I could see were 10 pound green hand weights next to the treadmill.

The next color I saw was red. As in, blood seeping through Josh’s white sock. Despite his screams of protest we took the sock off and saw his big toe, smashed, the nail popped up and a sea of blood like his foot was just amputated.

You didn't think I was going to show the toe, did you?

My first thought: What happened?!! Second thought: I’m going to pass out.

Parenting school does not prepare you for this.  I’m not good in bloody situations or wounds that may require an ER.  You wouldn’t want me as your trauma nurse. I’d probably throw a towel over your gunshot wound and say “Just don’t look at it, it’ll be ok.” Then weep quietly.

I’ve learned to deal with my own pain (child birth) and suffering (did I mention I gave birth 3 times?)  But catching your child’s dripping blood in your cupped palms is a helpless feeling.  I wanted to panic, yell, blame someone or just quietly step out the back door.

But I looked at Josh who was sobbing “Mooooommmmy” and suddenly it felt like I went on a mental dash to the phone booth for a quick Superman change.  There is something in your soul that just breaks when your child is hurt, the wish you could take on their pain and the need to make it better at all costs. Instinctive parental Super Powers snapped in.  As much as I hate blood, it wasn’t about me any more.  To Josh, I was the rock.  I had the power to make it all better. Instead of crying myself, I had to reassure, comfort and promise cookies for bravery.

This week, the parental super powers were on full display in suburban Detroit.  A father was driving his two sons to football practice, when their car EXPLODED (The Feds think someone planted a bomb in the car). But this father, who was just BLOWN OUT OF HIS CAR, along with his 10 and 13 year-old sons, had the presence of mind to call 9-1-1.  His voice is a little shaky, but he’s able to clearly state what happened and then describe the injuries to his boys as “deep tissue wounds”. (You can listen to the audio here)  He knew he was in a life or death situation, but was able to keep it together, focused on getting help for his boys (who are expected to be okay).  The Super Friends have nothing on this guy.

As for Josh, he’s okay too.  After my husband and I spent two hours at Urgent Care, we discovered the toe wasn’t broken.  Josh also admitted he picked up the hand weight, only to drop it on his foot.  So, no renegade boulders.

Parental Super Powers.  We have bionic hearing and built in lie detectors. And when anything happens to our children, we have the ability to do what it takes to make it better.  It’s nice to know they’re there – now if only I had the super power to make dinner magically appear on the table.

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15 thoughts on “Discovering Parental Super Powers

  1. Just wait (hopefully NOT actually) until multiple stitches. 10 stitches above our 1 year olds eye from header into coffee table. Mom & dad had to hold him down while Beaumont doc needlepointed. Heartbreaking.
    Pulled through fine. He was eating ice cream 2 hours later.

  2. Yup, being a mom is great..The first time my oldest son needed stitches, took him to ER went in with him Dr. told the nurse get her out of here, I haven’t seen a shade of green like that in awhile, my son is done comes out, I’m crying, he says why you crying mom it didn’t hurt..So much for Super Mom. LOL

  3. This takes me back to when our daughter Sarah had to have emergency surgery for a ruptured appendix. Sarah was three at the time and not very talkative. She had complained of a “tummy ache” and was mildly cranky. Who hasn’t had a cranky three year-old? Being cranky is their lifestyle. Nowhere in my mind did I think she might have a ruptured appendix. I was thinking horses all the way and not zebras. It was zebras and didn’t know it. My doctor once told me, when you worry, think horses when you hear a stampede, because it is unlikely it’s going to be a herd of zebras. Zebras are rare – horses are not. Ironically, in our families, there is a history of early childhood ruptured appendices. My Aunt JoAnn Mullen died at four of a ruptured appendix. My husband lost an uncle at a young age of the same malady.

    Long story short, after a night of fever and vomiting, I ended up taking Sarah to the pediatrician who looked at me with a very serious expression and says, you need to get your daughter down to Children’s Hospital, immediately. She sternly said – a surgeon is waiting for you right now. Sarah has all the symptoms of a ruptured appendix. First, I called my husband and then my sister, each time my throat tightening from anxiety. I lost my voice, the nurse had to complete the call for me. I don’t know how I did it, fighting through the tears, my parental super powers kicked in and I found my way to Children’s Hospital. I had never been there before and I was anxious of driving in downtown Detroit alone with a desperately ill daughter in the back seat. Sarah had the emergency surgery, spent a week in the hospital and two more weeks of quiet recovery at home. She sports a tiny scar on her lower right abdomen of the ruptured appendix that the surgeon called “nasty” and one of the tougher ones he had seen in his many years of practice. He wasn’t surprised Sarah couldn’t articulate her discomfort, it was twisted and turned toward the inside of her abdomen, only causing trouble until the point of bursting.

    When we suddenly realize that someone small and helpless looks up to you, depends on you, your parental super powers kick in and we rise to the occasion and embrace the world we only saw through the prism of our own childhood. We are someone’s mom and wouldn’t have it any other way.

    • Janet, what a story! I can only imagine what you were going through – but I love the last line of your note the best : “we are someone’s mom and wouldn’t have it any other way”. Thanks for reading and subscribing!

  4. A MOTHER GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN(Always there in spirit) Had “Special Needs”brother in hospital couple years ago- He was almost 68 years old and very sick .After all night in ER was told he was in renal failure-he would not make it-he was transferred to Room 513-B…………..My Mothers grave marker is 513-B………..He not only did a complete turn around, but we were blessed to have him around for another year & half………When does a Mother ever stop being a Mother?……..Answer=Never

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