At Silver Dollar City this weekend, I was waiting around with my dad, step-mom and youngest sister for the Grand Saloon show. I had the kids playing near us on the other side of the line divider while we waited in line. A boy was sleeping nearby in a stroller. As it crept closer to showtime, I had the kids come under the log divider and stand in line with us. A few minutes later, the grandmother of the boy in the stroller became frantic, asking for help because the boy was not breathing. My dad is a respiratory therapist and hopped the barrier.
The boy was about Anjali's age and size. His hair was reddish, but light in color. Not quite strawberry blond. His skin was all sorts of frightening shades of color. The boy's eyes were rolling, something was streaming out of his mouth and his body was lifeless.
I always joke how my kids gain 10 lbs and are dead weights when they fall asleep on my shoulder.
I will never refer to my children as "dead weight" again.
Dad did get the little boy to breathe again. But it was still a grim situation. The boy was somewhat awake, but was not crying. It is impossible to explain how truly awful, heartbreaking, terrifying it was to see a toddler not cry. He should have cried. No wait. A strange man with a beard was hovering over him. He should have screamed.
In about a ten minutes time, the paramedics arrived and they continued working on him together. The paramedics whisked him away.
Afterward, I thought I was going to vomit. I felt punched in the stomach. It certainly did not help that the boy was so near to Anjali's age.
My sister Maureen and I were crying and very shaken. My step-mom was a little more mature about it, but was quite proud of my dad. Dad? Shook off the You Saved His Life Backslaps. Not in a cold manner, but in a practical, professional way. It was not about modesty. Of course, he is concerned about the boy, but this is what Dad does. He treats a patient, then lets them go. Maureen and I are the ones wanting to Google the incidence. Was it "just" a "normal" seizure? Was it heatstroke? Was the boy already sick and just happened to spike a fever at the park? We want to know the ending so that we can wrap it up with ribbon.
My dad rarely gets that luxury.
Obviously, being a front row witness to the Fragility of Life left me thinking deep, dark, anxious thoughts. Now, I am questioning whether I worry enough. Perhaps, I am too relaxed? I need to retake that First Aid, most definitely.
Anything can happen.
Friday and Saturday, up until then, I had been a crabby, hot, sticky mess. I was one of "those" mothers constantly nagging her kids about something. Fretting that the kids were not having enough goddamned fun. Damnit, they should be having fun. Completely forgetting that they are just children - crabby, hot, sticky little kids who needed an adult to take care of them.
Watching that little boy struggle to breathe left me feeling ashamed of how little patience I have towards my children sometimes.
Also, I am seeing Dad in a new, different light, today.
I like what I see.