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Love thy little brother

in Life Lessons, Nonfiction Writing, Parenting

med equip

Photo by autodidact on

The screams my 5 year old produces are the same whether someone is picking on him, he feels neglected, or he breaks a bone. But as we were reminded this week, sometimes those screams are serious, and there’s nothing like a trip to the ER to bring a family together.

Wednesday evening all three kids were playing upstairs. My middle child had just gotten into the shower and my youngest was naked and awaiting his turn. He and his big sister were tossing a ball which hit a candle on a shelf. The jar fell and broke. Not knowing what to do, the youngest ran through the glass trying to get me.

What I see is a naked boy, screaming at the top of his lungs, blood covering his foot, and his big sister is in complete freak-out mode behind him. I prop him in a chair, calm her down enough to grab a towel, and then I start applying pressure while I try to piece the story together.

As he bleeds through the first towel (toes bleed a lot more I would have thought!), I physically cup my hands around my daughter’s chin to have her focus and calm down. I give her very precise directions as to what I need, and she takes a deep breath and gets started. My now-clean, but very naked, middle child comes downstairs oblivious to what has happened and he receives instructions as well.

After about 10 minutes of pressure and ice, the cut finally stops bleeding so that I can see how deep the gash is. Within 5 minutes, all three kids are clothed and loaded in the truck for a trip to Fast ER where an x-ray would reveal that all the glass was indeed out. The doctor opted for glue rather than stitches to reduce the trauma and the possibility of infection. And then the best part of the whole night happened… the doctors complimented my kids.

“You guys are amazing siblings,” he said. “I like seeing families that really love each other. That’s a real gift.” Beaming with pride, we loaded back in the truck and headed home.

As my two older ones got dressed for the trip, they had thought to stop and pack a bag. They didn’t fill it with THEIR toys, they filled it with their brother’s toys. The entire time we were at the doctor, my older two took turns reading books, telling stories, or playing with a very frightened Kindergartener. My daughter asked specific questions as to what they should and shouldn’t play with him over the next few days. My older son even asked his brother if he could get him a cup of water.

There was no fussing. No fighting. No griping about having to go to the doctor. They simply did what needed to be done.

The event itself was awful, and I’m not sure if I’ll ever get all the blood out of my once-beige carpet, but the lesson from the event was amazing. I have some pretty amazing kids,  and in pinch, they can be really awesome friends too.

Of course on Thursday my son decided to peel the glue off of his toe to reopen the wound and then on Friday morning they lost two shoes (one from each boy), my daughter lost her glasses, and my youngest had an 11-minute poop session that had us pulling into the school 1 minute shy of the tardy bell… but that’s another story. I’ll take the compliments wherever I can get them.

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