Written By: Tricia Underwood
How could a mom let that happen?
That was my first thought when I read the doctor’s summary of what happened to the toddler I was about to receive in the PACU (post-anesthesia care unit) one weekend at work. As a nurse in the recovery room, I sadly see many tragic accidents and many cases of abuse and neglect of precious children. So it was natural, at least I thought, that my mind went to the latter when I first read about one-year-old Baby T (due to HIPPA, that’s the name I’ll refer to her by, as well as change a few details of her actual story to protect her privacy).
Although she didn’t have surgery this day, Baby T was coming to me after a minor procedure that required anesthesia. The procedure was done to determine what, if any, effects she sustained from falling out of a window of her home onto a paved driveway. Being such a emphatic person, I always very easily put myself in someone else’s shoes, and so I quickly reacted in such horror and fear for that mother who witnessed seeing her child on the pavement, after only seconds before seeing her safe in the room indoors.
Yet, I’ll admit, there was this side of me that also judged her, way too quickly, and said, “How could you let this happen?… An open window and a toddler?! Where were you or what were you doing that could have possibly been more important than keeping an eye on your child?”
And almost as instantly as those thoughts came into my mind, God quickly pricked my heart with reminders of how it’s only been by HIS Grace and Mercy alone that my own children are safe, healthy, and alive today. How many times did HE catch my own children from falling when I wasn’t looking? How many times did He divert their attention from doing something abruptly that I wouldn’t have been able to stop (like touching the hot oven or fireplace)? Then, I was reminded of the time He brought life and color back into my premature daughter, Maegan’s, blue face when she was only home from the neonatal ICU four days. Only His Grace and Mercy.
“From His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” ~ John 1:16 ESV
I cried out to God in my heart and asked forgiveness for being so judgmental towards this sweet mother. God softened my heart and gave me a renewed tenderness towards her as I looked into her face a short while later. As her precious little child opened their eyes when the anesthesia wore off, it was her mother’s eyes and arms she searched for, and it was into her mother’s arms I gently placed. I could sense the mother was finally at peace, knowing her daughter had come through the procedure just fine and was back in her arms, yet she was short with her words and even less generous with her eye contact.
I began to talk with her about how beautiful her daughter was and especially how much I loved her hair. That brought a smile to the mother’s face and softened it a bit. Then we talked about the weather and how hot it had gotten lately, as summer has come to our area in full-force. The mom then disclosed, in a sad, quiet voice, that it was the weather that had led to this horrible accident. She explained that they don’t have air-conditioning and that she had the window open with fans through the house to try to cool it off. She said, “I only took my eyes off her for a second.”
All I could think about was the imagine she must have seen when she looked out the window, and my eyes filled with tears.
I get it, Lord.
Only by Your Grace and Mercy alone.
I could tell by her expression that she felt remorse and fear.
I didn’t know what to say to calm her heart, so I just placed my hand on her shoulder and looked into her eyes, as if to look way into her heart. She actually held the eye contact and it was as if she knew I, for one, wasn’t condemning her for what happened.
Later on, I asked her if her daughter has any older brothers or sisters at home. She explained that her older brother is 4-years-old but is “back home” in Tanzania. She said she came here to the United States and gave birth to Baby T, but that she hasn’t been able to go back home yet due to the medical problems that Baby T has (she had a long list of health issues since birth), and I’m assuming that the older brother can’t come here legally.
So with that news, my heart ached for this mother even more so~ she has a 4-year-old son that she hasn’t seen in over a year and she has a daughter with such an extensive health history, and obviously doesn’t have the greatest living conditions if she is living without air conditioning!
In the hospital, we have ways to help assist patients and families with resources available in their communities, so I know we will be able to begin to help her find and utilize what may be available. But, my prayer is that other members of the healthcare team didn’t question this mother’s worth or value, just because an accident occurred.
A horrible accident, yes, but an accident none the less. An accident that could have happened to any one of us.
I pray that just as God did with me, that they will realize how easy an accident can happen and perhaps think of how many times God has saved them or their own children from numerous accidents throughout their lives.
We don’t even know the kinds of prayers to pray to ask for His protection each day, or what kind of battles He is fighting for us each day in the spiritual world, yet He fights for us each day! Our God is so faithful.
When He looks at that mother, He doesn’t see a stressed out, single mother living in substandard housing. By these standards, she might believe she isn’t even worthy to be loved or cared about from anyone, let alone our God. Yet, when God looks at her, He sees His Son who died for her and has great plans for her and her children! (Jeremiah 29:11) Her worth doesn’t come from what she does or where she lives. Her worth comes from the fact she is one of His creation… one that His Son died for.
The same is true for each one of us. We are worthy because we are His creation~ the ones He sent His Beloved Son to die for~ and He loves us!
1 John 3:1 (NLT)
See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!
Until Next Time,