Thursday, June 27, 2013

Basden's Beauty

I had just sat down in the living room last Saturday afternoon, feet up on the ottoman, laptop in hand. I glanced out to where Corbin rested on the pool float, reading the newspaper in the sun, and thought, “Here summer begins.”

After an amazing, full week of CCBC Kids Kamp, along with an incredible few days with our “roomie cousins” the Hills, we’d gotten Bran off to his beach trip early that morning, cheered on Hud’s District team in the mid-cities, and then back home with a more-than-exhausted little ball player and his sisters.

The first real wave of a relaxed summer schedule settled over me. I sighed with the anticipation of no camps, no packing lunches, no early mornings, and a relaxed routine in the weeks ahead with very little on the calendar.

I don’t think I’d even lifted open the screen of my computer when screams and shrieks pierced the quiet room from the front yard. I knew immediately who they belonged to, and that they weren’t of the good variety. I jumped from my chair and ran to the front door, but by the time I got there Basden had run into the dining room. I met Esther in the foyer, and she stood there with her little hands in fists at her side, pale and paralyzed, just looking at me screaming with big tears running down her face. I looked all over to see how she was hurt, but she couldn’t answer through her screams. I suppose it was just a couple of seconds later that Basden ran back to me and I felt my stomach drop. Her lower face covered in blood, it looked like the skin from her nose to her upper lip had been shredded. I’m going to spare the details here, but I’m not typically real queasy at the site of blood, and at that moment I felt a little faint.

Basden was terrified, and unfortunately I don’t think my expression upon seeing her helped. She hadn’t even looked in a mirror - had no idea what I was seeing. But she told me later that my eyes told her it was bad. I turned to Hudson and said, “Tell Daddy I need him now.” So moments later Corbin and I huddled over Basden by the kitchen sink, trying to calm her and assess the situation, while calling our good friend who works as an ER doc at Cook Childrens. At one point in the kitchen Corbin sort of rolled his eyes and I couldn’t read his expression - surely he wasn’t irritated? (as understandable as that would have been - I think that was his 2nd time in the pool this summer, and that he had been on that float for about eight minutes. And nevermind that Branson had just gotten stitches removed from his face a few days prior from being spiked with a metal cleat in a game). But when I asked Corbin about it later, and he said he just felt overwhelmed seeing her skin so damaged, and he thought the cut had gone all the way through her lip into her gums.

Within minutes we were in the car and headed to the Emergency Room, and as always, every person who works in that hospital treated us with the utmost care and concern. After a couple of hours of admitting Basden, numbing the area around the wound, and stitching her up with 20+ sutures, we headed home to rest and recover - pain meds and Neosporin in hand. 

All of this from a fall in the street in front of our home. Basden and Esther had been invited to go get ice cream with a neighbor, and in running home to grab something before they left, Basden tripped over the soccer slides she wore and fell face-first in the gravelly concrete. Her little hands don’t have a scrape on them - perfectly fine - she completely caught herself with her face. It must have been so fast and so hard, I really couldn’t believe “just a fall” could do that much damage.

Later that evening, while giving her a bath and washing her hair, Basden sobbed and sobbed with me. She cried because she just looked so ugly, and she knew this wound would leave scars. Her face looked so banged up, and we both decided it best for her to not spend much time in front of mirrors for a few days. I tried to encourage her that while it looked bad now, God created our bodies to heal more quickly than we imagine. We talked about a sweet mom on our baseball team with facial scars from a recent surgery, and how she is all the more beautiful for her bravery in continuing to attend games and support her boys with a smile even with with fresh scars.

It was more than a little painful to watch my daughther crumble under the weight of feeling ugly. I had already been thinking throughout the day of Lauren Scrugg’s parents, and their story in Still Lolo, and how unimaginable to find their daughter so traumatically and horribly injured. My goodness, Basden’s was one tiny wound - and one that will likely heal without much scarring - and it had me turned inside out. I felt such compassion for the Scruggs and how they must still feel at the memory of going through that pain with Lauren, and what tremendous suffering they endured.

Interestingly, after her bath and in fresh pajamas, and with a lighter heart, Basden walked into the kitchen with Still Lolo in her hands. We had not talked about Lauren at all. But Basden must have known exactly where her book was in our bookshelves, and she turned to the pictures of Lauren with her scars. She then said to me, “Mom, she is still so beautiful, even with her scars.”

In my review of Still Lolo, I mentioned that the reason I bought this book instead of checking it out from the library was to give our family another hero. To put a survivor in front of them, one who persevered in hope and in God’s strength through an incredibly difficult time. And here Basden stood, at our kitchen counter, her pretty face covered in bandages and stitches, looking at a hero in the pages of this book. What precious encouragement.

Esther spent the afternoon and evening bursting into spontaneous tears, with fresh memories of watching her sister get hurt. She kept telling me through her cries, “Mom, I just remember. I just see her falling! I can’t stop thinking about it.” And again, our accident is so small-scale, but I was reminded of our good friends, the Lawrences, as they endured Mike’s accident several years ago. One of the most traumatic dynamics of Mike’s fall is that both parents and brothers saw it happen, saw him lying on the ground three stories below, and dealt with the stress of those emotions even long after Mike’s physical healing.

I do not want my children to get hurt. I don't want to see them injured, even though the logical part of me knows that suffering - physical and otherwise - is inevitable. I'm encouraged that God is near them, that He is their Protector and Provider and Jehova Rapha- the God who heals. It helps me to remember that these sufferings, these scars, however minor or major, are worth it in the end to build the character and perseverance Scripture promises, that suffering builds our faith, which is far greater than gold. It's why Lauren Scruggs isn't just still beautiful with her scars, she is even more beautiful (as are her parents). And Jeff and Nan Lawrence the same. They are a different family, better-and-more-beautiful-different, after Mike's accident. These and others whom God has chosen to endure deep suffering encourage the rest of us in our day to day lives. 

In all of this, our family has so much to be grateful for:

- Shaun right here to care for the other kids when we left for the hospital

- Basden’s teeth were unhurt, perfectly fine

- Great docs and nurses who know what they’re doing, incredible

- A beautiful, clean hospital that our insurance covers

- Corbin and I taking her together - so thankful I wasn’t home alone (afterall, I was quite faint)

- The sun deck on our pool - and that it’s mostly shaded all day - that Basden can still spend many hours this week in the pool without getting her face wet

- Sweet friends to cheer us up ~ the Smithermans' gift of balloons and goodies even before we returned from the hospital, Julia’s texts about beauty, Andersons at the door with the gift of a new (darling) shirt, Daboo’s lotion and perfume, Mama’s gift of a pedi from afar, Ken's Joshua 1:9 text, and many emails and calls to check on our girl. The support, even in something this “small” is tremendous. 

Praising God for my sweet girl, her near-perfect health, her beauty. Which is deepening with each passing day.