I’ve had this post in my drafts for months. I’ve never hit publish on it because it’s super negative. And while Maddie and her foot are fine, this story doesn’t have a happy ending. I still get riled up when I think about that day. It still hurts my heart that I had to go through all of this without one single person offering to help…
But I’m going to publish it now and hope that by sharing this story, it’ll make us all think twice when we see another mom in public, struggling. We need to help each other. Because moms get it – we can tell when another mom has had it. When she’s in over her head. When she needs help. What stops us from offering a hand? What stops us from offering to help? The worst that can happen is that she’ll say no…
We were at the pool one day this summer, trying to beat the heat and pass some time since those long summer days seem to go on forever. It wasn’t too crowded that day, just about 4-5 other moms or grandmothers that I didn’t know with their kids or grandchildren.
We had been there for a while and I was hanging out on the edge of the baby pool while my kids played. Right around the time when I was starting to think about getting up and getting the kids home so I could cook dinner, my then 2-year-old decided to jump into the baby-pool (like she does all the time) and landed directly on the plastic drain. She started crying and thinking it was just a small scrape, I didn’t get up. I asked her to come over to me so I could see, but she said she couldn’t. When I got up to go see what was wrong, I saw there was blood dripping off her foot.
I tried not to freak out, scooped her up, sat her down on a picnic table, and checked her out. She had cut her heel open, pretty badly, and my heart started racing. I grabbed some paper towels from the nearby bathroom, applied pressure on her foot, and walked over to tell the lifeguard what happened. Our lifeguards are all teenagers, and the only thing this particular lifeguard did was offer me a band-aid. Gee, thanks man. I tried not to roll my eyes at the unhelpful lifeguard, and walked all the way back to where Graham was still playing in the baby pool. I could feel the tears coming on the backs of my eyes, and I knew we needed to get out of there so I could look at her foot again and decide if I needed to take her to the hospital for stitches.
I yelled to Graham that we had to leave, and sat Maddie down again on the picnic table so I could start shoving our stuff into our bags. Then I picked her up again, grabbed our bags, my purse, the swim-wings, all the while trying to calm Maddie (and myself) down. And still trying to get Graham to get out of the baby pool and walk to the car. My hands were full, Maddie was crying, I was crying, blood was dripping onto the cement, and Graham was taking his sweet time walking to the car.
Long story short, we ended up at urgent care where they had to clean out the wound and glue it together with surgical glue. I’m glad it wasn’t worse than it was, and I’m glad we didn’t need to make a trip to the ER.
Looking back on the entire situation, I keep thinking about what I must have looked like – carrying all that stuff, along with a crying child, with blood dripping out of her foot, and all the while Graham was running around, oblivious to everything.
And I can’t get over that no one, not even ONE of the other moms at the pool offered to help me. Not one. No one asked to help me carry my bags to the car, no one offered to help me get Graham to the car. T
It was all a blur, so I’m not sure if any of the other moms knew what was going on. But Maddie was crying pretty loud, so I’m fairly certain that SOMEONE must have heard. Someone must have seen that I was struggling. I was wet from the pool, with two wet children, one that was dripping blood and crying, carrying a couple of pool bags, my purse, two sets of swim wings…
But no one offered to help.
The few times I’ve shared this story with my other mom-friends, they’re livid. They can’t believe no one helped that day and I know that if they had been there, it would have been a totally different story. They would’ve helped. They would’ve done anything they could.
So here’s a challenge for all of us:
Next time we’re out and about, and we see another mom struggling, let’s offer to help. Even if she looks annoyed. Even if you’re not sure what exactly you could do to help. Let’s offer anyway. And if she says no, at least she’ll know someone cared enough to offer a hand.