Sons Should Come With A Disclaimer

by Migdalia Rivera

“You’re my Wonder Mom.”

My tween proclaimed those words this past week. His back had been badly hurt playing Dodge-ball in school and he could not walk.

Wonder Woman Portrait
As I lifted him up, I winched but did not let him see. He is no longer a baby. He weighs more then 105 lbs. Yet, last week he had become a baby. He could not sit up or get out of bed on his own. Standing was a feat only accomplished with my support. Walking was impossible.

Simple tasks, normally taken for granted, seemed insurmountable.

But love moves. It’s not only a noun, but a verb. It propelled me. I helped him bathe, brushed his teeth and helped him relieve himself, before returning him to bed and handing him the TV remote control.

Thank goodness for TV! It gave me some respite. It allowed me to catch my breath and hid my tears.

I have no shame in saying I was scared. I was also beyond exhausted. I had barely slept, hearing every cry of pain, uttered in his sleep.

The day of the incident I raced around the city. I was advised by his school he was going to be taken to Beth Israel because of some pain. As I raced in a cab to the hospital, I received another call. EMT noted my tween had to be taken to Bellevue, a trauma center, instead. “A trauma center” echoed in my head as I changed course.

We spent almost 10 hours in Bellevue’s pediatric trauma unit. We watched a teen come in with stab wounds, heard the cries of a toddler receive stitches, and were moved as a young girl in severe respiratory distress had to receive air and have her lungs x-rayed.

My anxiety level could not take much more. I felt as if a panic attack was coming and needed air desperately. But I couldn’t leave my tween. Not at Bellevue Hospital. Not alone.

The nurse came over and suggested he stay overnight. I couldn’t. In my mind, I knew I should. I also knew I would not be able to keep the panic attack at bay much longer.  I felt like a horrible Mom. 

I had no one to relieve me, not until Karl, my teen, came home. He was expected Saturday evening, almost 24 hours later.

I told them I would return for a follow-up. I could not stay. My tween was a trooper, he agreed. He knew I was getting edgy. Sadly, with my thyroid issue, he’s witnessed a panic attack before. It was not pretty. Sleep deprivation has that effect on me, so does stress. The resident arranged for a follow-up and we left.

I thank God for the kindness of strangers. The cab driver carried my tween to and from the cab. A gentleman in my building helped me carry him, his bag, my bag and the crutches up the stairs. I know I wouldn’t have been able to do it otherwise.

My tween can now walk. The pain has diminished but has not completely disappeared. The injury caused a bulging disc. The hope is that the pain will diminish with time, that his body will heal itself. Till then, the memories have consumed me.

I’m glad his injury wasn’t worse, that he is healing and walking. Yet, a part of me, continues to hear the whisper, “You’re a horrible Mom.” I feel like I failed him by not remaining in the hospital. I hope that will fade in time as well.

Till then, what holds me together are those four words:

“You’re my Wonder Mom.”

I don’t have a cape, do not have superhuman powers, or superior combat and battle skills, but I have love. Love moves.

Tough Girl

UPDATE: My teen told me he sprained his ankle. Sons should really come with a disclaimer.

Photo Credit: Wonder Woman Portrait by bbaltimore, on Flickr



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