On Not Saying "I Told You So"...

...when you really, rightfully could.

Just a little over five years ago, when we were living in Pennsylvania - in a ghetto apartment on "the other side of the tracks" - we had this itty bitty bright peach bathroom with absolutely no counter space to place even one of our toiletries upon while we were getting ready for the day.

And it was awesome.
Only not so much.

Kaden was three, and Jesse was about seven months old at the time of this story -- just barely crawling.  And every single morning of life when I curled my hair in the bathroom, I would set my iron down on the (closed) toilet seat while it was heating up, because there was no other place for it to go.  And every single morning of life, when Kev came into the bathroom to get ready for the day, he would say to me:  "Honey, you can't leave the curling iron sitting there. One of these days, one of our boys is going to come into the bathroom, reach up and grab that thing, and get a really awful burn."

Every single day, this was our exchange.

And I would agree with him.  He wasn't being foolish, and he wasn't being over the top protective.  But then I couldn't find any other place to set it down while I was getting ready....so I would tell myself that I would just stay in the bathroom the entire time it was on to make sure that a burn never happened...and thus that same scene replayed itself perpetually, each and every day... for days and weeks on end.

Until one week-end -- the week-end that Jesse actually started crawling for real -- Kev had a Saturday morning class, and a friend and I decided to go and check out an Amish food market down the road.  So we made plans that I would drive Kev to class so that I could have the car.  The plans were last minute, so I wasn't completely ready for the day when it was time for him to leave.  And this one time, I left my curling iron hot and ready on the toilet seat, packed the boys up in a flurry to get Daddy to class on time, and told myself that I would finish getting ready when we got back home.

Well, by the time we got back home, I remembered that I wanted to check something online in the living room really quickly...and that "really quickly" turned into several minutes...and when Kaden said:  "Mama, I need to go potty, can Jesse follow me into the bathroom?".....distractedly I responded:  "That's fine, Honey..."

And life went on as normal.

Until that ear-piercing, gut-wrenching, my-child-is-in-agony scream that came from the bathroom, and I knew in an instant what had happened.  "Jesus, NO!!!" flew out of my mouth, and I raced into that room, where I saw that my seven month old baby had his hands wrapped tightly around that burning hot piece of rod and could. not. let. go. because the heat had sealed his hands in a claw grip around it.

I have never heard screams like that before or since, and I have never lived a worse day in my life.
Graphic...but important to show that this story is not just about a "little" incident.
I called my friend who rushed over with her hair dripping wet and her just born baby, and she drove me to hospital where we raced into the emergency room, and where we began the agonizing process of cooling down his hands and assessing the damage....all the while knowing that I had to tell Kev - who had no idea what was going on...and who had warned me repeatedly for months. on. end. that this day would one day come... and indeed it had.

At the carelessness of this little baby's Mama.

Charlotte's husband found the Head of Security at the school, who hunted Kev down...who was told nothing but:  "Your son has been burned".... and he was immediately rushed to the hospital to meet us.  He could hear Jesse's screams as soon as he opened the door...and when I turned to meet him...I braced myself for what was surely to come.
Days...weeks...of wrapping and re-dressing his wounds...
A look of horror, at least.
A "How could you?" for sure.
And an onslaught of "How many times did we talk about this?!" for certain.
It is what I would have done, for sure -- not a doubt in my mind.

But, there wasn't even an ounce of that condemnation.
Never once did I hear an "I told you so."
And to this day I have never, ever been blamed for the scars that race up a huge part of his hand.
Surgery day where they grafted a strip of skin off of his belly.
There was only grace poured out.
There was the shushing of my "I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry...."
There was the: "It's okay, Honey.  It could have happened to anyone."....(which we both knew wasn't true).
And there was the comfort of the Protector Husband for His wife so very broken....

And every single day of my life...and especially in these summer months as that skin graft from his belly tans brown while the rest of his palm stays peachy white...I am reminded of that day.
Sweet little cast.
I am reminded of what my husband's rightful response could have been.
And I am reminded of what it instead was.

That day...and his response to me forever changed me.
I will remember that grace shown to me - for life.

Because I know -- in my heart of hearts -- I know...that if the shoe had been on the other foot, my response would not have been the same.  There would not have been that same mercy shown.
After surgery stitches showing off the new skin - once the cast was removed.
But because of that gift given to me... I have learned how to better give it back to others, as well.
I have learned mercy...and I better practice grace.
Those scars are a perpetual reminder...and my husband is my forever Hero.


When it's so very tempting to be able to rightfully say "I told you so" to someone...
And when those words could fly out so easily...and rip wide the wounds that are already bruised and bloody...
When something could be said - and maybe even rightfully so - but would be remembered for life...
When the guilt could be made to be a burden worn heavy for years and years to come...
And when internal scars could be created that will stay remembered forever and never ever forgotten...
New skin grafted on - allowing his little fingers to once again fling wide open with full range of motion.
Even if you have the chance to say it...
And even if it is your every right to do so...

Swallow deep, and respond in a way that heals the wounds.

The grace shown will be remembered forever.
Trust me.
I know.


Kristi said...

oh my soul -- this was so hard to read -- I just realized I barely breathed for the last few minutes -- even though I know this story -- still so gutt-wrenching...and you are amazing...and such an unbelievably good Mama - and I'm soo so so grateful that darlin' Jesse is fine and full of life and joy and FINE!! oh my soul. we just never know what can happen, do we? accidents happen all the time...and I love your story of your sweet Kevin's mercy and love shown. what a beautiful picture and display to us of his heart and kindness -- and deep love for you...I love you guys. I love your love for each other and your sweet family...man. I love you guys. I cannot WAIT to see you and meet that darlin' girl!!!!!!! next time I see you, I will be kissing her sweet little cheeks...I can't wait! I love you so much, friend. thanks for sharing your life on here...its always a blessing and encouragement -- you make me want to be better...I leave your blog being challenged to be more positive...you've always made me want to be a better person...you're so awesome like that...I love your heart, Ame. It is a true joy to call you my friend. Thinking of you and praying for you these days.

Life With My Boys..... said...

wowza, Kris. Your comment just totally made my...year. what a dear, sweet encouragement you are to me. how I love you my old, dear, priceless friend. Yes...this summer! How exciting... can not wait. Love you my friend.

Angelica said...

...oh Amy---

This touched me---deeply.
and , with tears rolling down my face I say-thank you-

..these are the very words I needed to hear tonight- ox

Rachael said...

This. Made me bawl like a baby.
I KNEW this story; but never actually all the details. I winced through the ENTIRE story, begging myself to stop reading (you know me...I'm such a "Kevin") :-) But I had to read on.
Ashamedly, I'm not sure I would have responded properly as Kevin did. Sure, it's a little easier to show grace to friends and acquantances...but the ones closest to us....rubber meets the road kinda grace...harder said than done. To be perfectly honest. No doubt he saw the hurt in your eyes, the humility on your face and KNEW you needed grace in that moment more than ever. Good husbands are like that. :-) And a good husband is he!
Thank you for this story, Ame...this reminder. I so needed it right now..

Rachael said...

Okay...totally didn't mean the "Kevin" in a bad way. Just in that "eyes wide open to every potential danger so lets take precautionary measures to avoid it" sort of thing. Yikes. I re-read that and realized it sounded like I was slamming him. So not true. I love that guy...like an Uncle, in fact. :-)

Rachel said...

I swallowed my urge to cry constantly during this entire post. Your living example is a great reminder for us all. Thank you so much for opening your heart and being so vulnerable to all of us. I am so thankful that God uses you in this blog because I know personally for me that I am often challenged by what you post. So I thank you so much for that!!

Lorraine said...

What a perfect example of God's Wonderful Grace when I read this. What an amazing husband you have and your blog puts all of us in your place many times over the years. Thank you for sharing this lesson with us Amy! God Bless.

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Angie said...

Oh man, i cried too. We've all had those horrible, we know better but nothing bad will surely happen mommy moments. One of mine was when kier fell from a very high rock climbing wall at a park and broke his wrist. I had told him to be careful and even thought he shouldnt go on it, but it was so hot and my girls were all over the place--one in the splash area, the other running around the park, and it was so hot--that i decided he would be fine and didnt inforce what my gut was telling me. It was horrible and i felt so helpless and guilty. It is truly one of the most awful things seeing your child hurt and in pain and not be able to take it away. What an amazing story of grace. I love you ame. I keep thimking about you and wondering if your sweet little girl has been born yet, i cant wait to see pics of her. She will be a beauty, inside and out, just like her mama. Love you. Miss you. Xoxoxo

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Kathlyn Harbin said...

Precious Amy... so much truth! I'm so blessed Plexus has brought you into my life... love what you teach by the way you live... love you!