This a probably one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to write. Not because it’s hard to find the words, but because of what I have to admit. And before you make any judgments about me, please read through to the end.
Several years ago, I had the privilege of being a stay at home mom. It was important to both me and the man I was married to at the time to raise our kids ourselves. Which basically meant me. I was the wife of a farmer. Which meant there were many days, nights and weekends that I was doing the job on my own. Even when he was around, I pretty much handled everything.
It was right before Christmas, a time that had always stressed me out way more than it should. The buying and wrapping presents, going to this function or that, programs, holiday baking, Christmas parties – it was almost more than I could handle.
On this particular evening, I was rushing around the house trying to get people fed and had a thousand things in my head I knew I needed to get done. I was holding my 18 month old son as he was eating a carrot. He had this awful habit of chewing and chewing on something and then deciding that he couldn’t swallow it and he would spit it out. Which is what he did while I was holding him. Something inside me just snapped. I honestly can’t tell you what I was thinking at that moment. I don’t think I was thinking at all. I had him in my arms walking down the hall. And I just let go.
He fell to the floor and immediately started crying. I picked him up right away and took him to his room and sat down in the rocking chair. My husband came in and asked what happened. He could tell that my son was hurt. I kept trying to convince myself that he was OK. That he would stop crying. But every time we tried to bend his foot, he cried in pain. I was sick inside. What have I done.
At the time, my mom worked for a group of orthopedic surgeons. I called her and the next day one of them got us in. They took an X-ray and revealed what I had feared. He had broken his leg.
No, I had broken his leg.
I broke down, sobbing. The doctor questioned me about what happened. Because of the way the break was, it was obvious that some sort of trauma had occurred. And because he was only 18 months old, something out of the ordinary must have happened.
I then had to explain to him what happened. And reality hit me. I COULD very well be facing child abuse charges. Fortunately for me, he was very compassionate. And he had a good relationship with my mother and knew me as well. He could see my remorse. He assured me that I was not the only mother who had “lost it.” He knew I had not intentionally tried to harm my child.
Fourteen and a half years have passed. To this day it sickens me to think about it. His leg healed nicely. My husband and I always told our kids that my son had jumped off the bed and broke his leg. I never wanted my kids to know that their mother had lost it and was capable of doing such a thing. They never questioned it. Until recently.
I’m not sure why, but my now ex husband decided to inform my son how his broken leg occurred so many years ago. Fortunately for me, my son knows how much I love him. And he knows that I would never do anything to intentionally hurt him. He kinda laughed about it, I think to make me feel better.
But one thing I learned from that horrible experience was this: don’t let yourself get overwhelmed. We can get so wrapped up in the day to day busyness that things can happen. Awful things. Things you’ll regret. But as with all things, I used it as a learning/teaching moment. And as for my son, he knows I love him more than anything. And at the end of the day, that’s all that matters to me.