Children's hospitals these days aren't what they used to be. They aren't scary. On the contrary, they usually have TVs playing, there are beautiful murals, and they have buckets with crayons and paper. It's almost more of a playroom than a scary ER.
Despite this, when my son cracked his head open the other night, I felt almost so stricken with anxiety at the thought of sitting in the germ-filled ER for several hours with a wild two year old boy, that I almost couldn't pull myself together. I knew in my heart he needed to go, but I just flat-out didn't want to spend five hours in the ER on a Friday night, especially since my husband was working and I knew I would have to go alone. Suddenly I found myself wishing I wasn't the responsible adult. I wished I was babysitting and I could call the parents and explain what happened and high-tail it out of there.
It was almost 7pm by the time my parents picked up my daughter so my son and I could leave for the hospital, which is normally his bedtime. He has never been a kid to tolerate lack of sleep and it suddenly hit me that instead of getting him snuggled up in bed, I was driving downtown while blood continued to stream down his head. The whole situation was just so upsetting that I cried quietly in the front seat the entire way to the ER. I kept beating myself up, "Why did I get so wild with them? Why did I let them chase me around like that? I should have known someone would get hurt! Now he's going to have a scar and it's all my fault!"
We arrived and I took one look in the crowded waiting room with screaming babies and vomiting kids, and I found that I almost couldn't function. I have always been a bit of a germaphobe, but it's usually just a quirky character trait.
"Oh, that Katie," people say. "She won't even let her kids drink out of the drinking fountain because she's afraid of germs. Isn't she funny?"
But suddenly my germaphobia became real and I wanted to run straight home. Or put a mask on. I couldn't, so I pulled myself together and got geared up for the three hour wait. I was wound up, sitting on a chair as tight as a drum as I watched the front door, hoping my husband would arrive any minute. I turned on Mickey Mouse on my iPad and my little guy snuggled up next to me. Time began to tick by... and an amazing thing happened. I found myself relaxing. And almost enjoying myself. And being so thankful that we were only there for stitches and nothing worse. My son didn't get cranky. He blossomed. He watched everyone going in and out and he waved and smiled at them. Every time his show was over, he would look up at me with big eyes and a sweet smile and whisper pleadingly, "One more Mickey Mouse?"
I would nod and he would grin and say, "Oh, thank you Mommy!" followed by a sweet hug. I found myself laughing, despite the fact that it was 10 o'clock at night and we still hadn't been even been taken into a room yet and the fact that my husband still wasn't there yet. I was enjoying this rare alone time with my sweet two-year-old boy, who is usually too busy for me. And frankly, sometimes I'm too busy for him.
11:30pm rolled around and the doctor finally got my son patched up. My husband arrived just in time for the procedure and was amazed to find his son, happy as a clam in the ER, four hours past his normal bedtime. The doctor could only find a pink Band-Aid, but it was late and he didn't bother looking for a blue one.
So that's how I found found myself watching my son march out of the ER by himself at 12:30 in the morning with a pink Band-Aid over his stitches. I've never been more proud of him as I was at that moment. He was grinning from ear to ear and waving at all the nurses I realized the night hadn't been nearly as terrible as I had feared. In fact, I had enjoyed it. Suddenly I was glad to be the parent and not the babysitter. And I was glad to have this memory of the special night I spent alone with my sweet boy.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.