As I smeared peanut butter across a piece of bread, her cries cut across the back yard and into the kitchen. I recognized the wailing as intense and immediate - a cry indicating physical pain. I rounded the corner of the kitchen island and swung open the door to Hudson half-carrying his hobbling little sister up the steps.
“Mom! Basden fell out of the tree!”
“Ok, ok, Basden, where do you hurt?”
She continued her wail, “A-l-l o-ver!”
Scanning her four-foot frame for injury, I started to scoop her up when I saw the blotchy puddles on the back of her pink leggings.
“Hud, what’s all this? Is this blood?”
“I think her leg caught on a branch coming down. Is she bleeding?”
I peeled back the edge of her pants above the calf and sucked in my breath at the mangled skin beneath. The dark pools of blood seeped onto my arms as I lifted my little girl and rushed her into the laundry room, where slate floors and an abundance of old towels corralled our mess. I wrapped Basden’s leg in an worn green towel and breathed a couple of deep breaths before looking again at the puncture wound.
Basden and Hudson had been climbing in a large crepe myrtle tree when Basden’s branch snapped. As she fell, a sharp limb took hold of her right calf and neatly inserted itself in her flesh. I’d not seen anything quite like it - the skin had rolled itself up into the wound and bits of torn skin and flesh dotted her pants.
Ugh ugh ugh.
So we sat huddled on the laundry room floor under the curious and concerned supervision of six hovering eyes. I held a blood-soaked towel around Basden’s shaking leg and hugged her tightly, trying my best to calm us all down.
Quite honestly, I didn’t know what to do. But I knew Corbin would. I wasn’t sure if this accident was “hospital-worthy.” I didn’t want to overreact and take Basden in, but on the other hand, I didn’t have a clue how to address the wound. Basden’s cries and whimpers flowed into the phone as I dialed Corbin’s work number. In thirteen years of marriage, this was a first:
"Corbin, I need you to come home, now.”
And so he did.
Hudson read a book to his sister while I scurried back and forth with fresh towels and orange juice and crackers. Corbin arrived quickly and calmly, his presence an immediate lift. He smiled as he sat down next to his Basden, his gentle eyes filling with tears as he wrapped his arms around her.
He spent the rest of the day taking Basden to be examined by a doctor and then to the Urgent Care Center for a few stitches. The pediatrician gave Basden a new doll, one that she seemed to cherish even more than her days-old American Girl Doll from Santa (!). Corbin held her hand and wiped her tears through the process, and it hit me how much strength Daddy carries in the eyes of his wife and children.
It wasn’t until later that evening that we discovered the goose-egg bump on the back of her head and a good bruise on her lower back. During dinner, with a sore and bandaged Basden propped in her chair, the kids recapped Basden’s accident to Daboo and Aunt Crystal. Hudson described the event from his point of view, relaying that Basden “softly hit her head on the brick wall." To our involuntary peals of laughter, he said he wanted to say “softly” to keep us from getting worried. Thanks, Hud.
Thank you, Lord, for a minor, minor accident. For two big brothers that care for Basden and are concerned for her. And for one in particular who wouldn’t leave her side or quit worrying until she was safe at home. Thank you for a Daddy who knows what to do, and can handle “emergencies” with grace. And thank you that in this precious family you've provided, never is there a dull moment!