Last week, I took the kids to the park. I watch my neighbor’s kids after school, so there were five of them. We had a great play date—the park was packed and the weather was gorgeous.
Just as we were leaving, I heard Gabe yell. I turned my head in time to see Ross, 8, hit the ground, shoulder first. His feet were still hooked on the rope of the jungle gym. He was completely silent for a moment and then he started to scream, a thin, high, continuous sound. Gabe kept saying “It’s bad mom, it’s bad”,
This is what happens in my head at moments like this: EVERYTHING. All the things. At once.
Ross and I had a conversation that he doesn’t remember. I was holding him still, which he didn’t like, but I couldn’t tell which part of him was hurt. I figured out it was his arm, or shoulder. Gabe and Ross’ sister Sarah, who’d magically morphed into EMTs, were chirping in my ear that I HAD TO call 911. Or Mercy Flight. And Ross’ mom.
I managed to get all five kids back to the car. I put Ross in the front seat. While I was buckling Annie, Ross panicked.
“Ms. Jen, you aren’t going to buckle me, right? Please don’t buckle me.” Then he started sobbing.
My brain was screaming at me to buckle him, because it was bad enough that his 8 year old self was in the front seat, and the seatbelt would not have touched his hurt arm.
I started to explain but he rolled his eyes up to heaven and yelled “Ms. Jen, can we PRAY????”
I hesitated, but not because I didn’t think we needed prayer. If there was ever a time for Jesus to take the wheel, this was it. But I assume my guardian angel holds a place in the prayer line during emergencies until I can get around to the praying. Right at that exact moment, we needed to get around to the painkillers.
But since it was his pain and he wanted to pray, we prayed.
I can’t say his prayer word for word. He asked God to take his pain away and to be with him.
Then he sure did end with this: “Please God, please. Tell Ms. Jen RIGHT NOW that she doesn’t have to buckle me. Please. PLEASE.”
I almost laughed out loud. This kid–he knows me. He knew I would pray with him and he knew I didn’t want to hurt him and he tried to use God to seal the deal.
But I am a mama, and Jesus had a mama and she was fierce. He knows what’s what. If someone said “Lord, we have a request to change her heart on the seat belt decision”, the Lord would say “Are you crazy, man? She’s a MOM.”
When I prayed, I seconded Ross’ request that God ease his pain and come be with him. I asked God to calm his heart and his fears and help me drive quickly and safely to his mom at the ER.
I finished with “Lord, please help Ross understand that I have to buckle him for his own safety. Amen.”
And then I did it, before he knew what was happening.
In prayer, as in life, the mama knows best.
Ross had a broken elbow that required surgery the next day. Two weeks later he has a rad, neon green water proof cast. I took them all to the pool yesterday and he swam like a fish. He’s counting down the weeks until he has his arm back, which will be–thankfully–before the Fourth of July.