The Day I Stopped Saying, “I Don’t Have Time” Monday, September 15th, 2014
I bent down and kissed him on the cheek. His sister was holding one of my hands, and I was holding his new baby brother’s carseat with my other arm.
“Love you, sweet boy. You have to go into your classroom now. I will be back to pick you up after school.”
I turned to rush back towards our van. I had ten minutes to get my daughter to her preschool, before she was late also.
“Catch my kiss!” My son shouted from behind me.
I turned around and watched as he shifted his big bag up onto his shoulder, and blew an imaginary kiss towards me.
“I caught it, sweetheart! Love you! Go on into your class now.”
“You didn’t catch it!”
I hurriedly put down the carseat, grabbed at the air and put my hand to my cheek.
“Okay. Love you. Go inside now.”
I picked up the carseat and turned again to head towards our van.
“Blow me a kiss, Momma.”
“Baby, I’m out of time. I have to get sister to school too.” I blew him a quick kiss, and shouted a long a loud, “I love you! Now, go inside, baby!”
He turned and walked into the school building, and I checked my watch again.
It seems like I am always in a hurry. It seems like no matter how I order my day or plan my schedule, I am always rushing from one activity to the next.
I wish it wasn’t true. I wish that when I found few free minutes in my day that I didn’t fill them up with a million other things that do not matter. But I do.
And I rush through the things that should matter the most – like imaginary kisses blown from the sweetest four year old God ever made.
That’s what I thought about on the ambulance ride. With my son strapped down the gurney, I couldn’t help but think about the morning before.
Just 24 hours before, I was rushing through my morning activities. If I had known that this was where I would be sitting the next day, I might have slowed down.
He hadn’t seemed sick that morning. Honestly, I didn’t even think I should keep him home from school, but after a slight fever the night before, it felt like the right thing to do.
Just before lunch, he had started to run a fever again. I gave him Motrin, but the fever didn’t respond to it. And then, out of nowhere, he started to complain that his stomach hurt.
I called our local clinic to make an appointment for him to be seen, and within minutes, my son’s simple stomach ache turned into screams of pain every time that he tried to take a breath.
I called the clinic again and told them that we needed to be seen immediately. When we arrived a few minutes later, they got us into a room, examined my son, and promptly made the decision to rush him to Children’s Hospital.
Once we arrived, my husband and I sat helplessly as the doctors tried to figure out what was wrong with him. He had multiple x-rays of his chest and abdomen. He had an ultrasound and a CT scan, but they couldn’t seem to find the source of infection.
They released us from the hospital at midnight with orders to follow up with our pediatrician within the next few days and said he likely had a virus and swollen lymph nodes that were causing the abdominal pain.
When my son woke up three hours later with a fever of 105.4 and abdominal pain that had returned, we rushed him back to the hospital. They ran a few more tests and decided to admit him to the hospital for observation.
Later that morning, we finally had some answers.
The report came back from the radiologist. Sitting on top of my son’s diaphragm, hiding behind his heart, was a pocket of pneumonia that had originally been overlooked. They were finally able to treat him properly.
It had been a scary 24 hours. I thought a lot while we were in the hospital. I made nervous chatter with my husband and the nurses. I talked with my son to keep him calm. I prayed.
But I couldn’t seem to stop thinking about the day before. How I had tried to rush my son off to school. How I didn’t even have a few spare seconds to give extra kisses. How I wished that I hadn’t hurried so much and that I had hugged him longer.
The story could have ended differently. It could have been worse. It could have been something that required more than antibiotics.
So today, I’m taking a lesson from myself. I’m slowing down.
I’m not going to rush through the moments that matter most. I’m going to let the dishes sit in the sink, and I’m going to play legos and super heroes. I’m going to be silly. I’m going to get down on his level when he wants to tell me something. And I’m going to stop saying “I don’t have time.”
Because if I don’t have time for the people that I love, then I need to reconsider what I think is important. Do you know what I mean?
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