I opened the door to the church for Ben. Without warning, Ben's walker folded onto itself, slamming Ben's face to the floor. Ben's nose took the brunt of the fall. He bled and cried. Then I cried. Our church community got ice, gave hugs and helped any way they could. Ben only wanted his Dad to hold him.
Of course, things like this happen so quickly and when they do, the details are all in a haze. I do remember wondering, what just happened? How could the walker do that? And probably even quicker than the fall, the answer came to me: I did not engage the lock for the walker properly.
Some people have told me not to feel bad or guilty, but I did. Ben's nose blew up to at least twice its size. He was dazed and upset for a long while, enough that Ryan took him home instead of staying at church. Four days later, Ben had two black eyes, an almost improvement from the dark pink "eye shadow" he sported two days before that.
This blog is about full disclosure - paying wisdom forward is in our masthead, after all - that is why I share this story, because Lord knows I wanted to sweep it under the rug. There are three things I learned:
1. Even though I was not in a rush to get the walker setup, I still overlooked an important part of setup. Double check and then check again.
2. Feeling guilty is okay...for awhile. Denying your feelings is counter productive. Moving on is part of healing. I made a mistake as all parents do. I forgave myself. And Ben has been snuggling up to me so I think he did too.
3. Humor is a good healer. At the doctor's office on Monday, Ben's bridge of the nose was wider than the tip, resembling an Avatar. Perhaps the doctor did not appreciate our humor, but it had us all laughing, releasing the tension. And knowing Ben's nose was not broken and would heal just fine was a relief.
And really, "You should see the other guy" is still a good line.